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Most Tennessee COVID-19 metrics improved last week, but virus related deaths rose

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TN.GOV/HEALTH
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(Mike Osborne) — Tennessee’s latest COVID-19 metrics all trended lower last with, with one glaring exception.

New numbers released by state health officials Wednesday show new infection counts, active case counts, and hospitalizations were all sharply lower as the omicron wave subsides.

However, the number of virus-related deaths across Tennessee rose during the week that ended Saturday, after falling for much of January. COVID-19 proved fatal for a total of 456 state residents during the seven-day period. Compare that to this past summer when some weeks saw fewer than 30 deaths in in a full week.

NEW INFECTION COUNTS FALLING

We now know that Tennessee’s omicron wave peaked during the week of January 16. Nearly 118,000 state residents were reported virus positive during the seven-day period, a new all-time high. And that’s likely a significant undercount of total new cases, given that many people now use home tests that aren’t reported to the state.

Health officials said Wednesday that new infection counts fell again last week. Just under 72,000 new cases were confirmed during the seven-day period that ended on Saturday. New infections were also down in Metro Nashville. Cases fell citywide by 40 percent in seven days to some 4300 new cases.

NEW CASES AMONG SCHOOL CHILDREN DROP

New COVID-19 infections peaked among Tennessee’s school age children during the week of January 16 as well. An all-time record 23,543 kids, 5 to 18 years of age, tested positive during the period. This past week, just under 12,000 new cases were reported among school age kids. That represents a 49 percent drop in just 14 days.

HOSPITALIZATIONS ALSO DECLINING

The number of Tennesseans under hospital care for COVID-19 fell back below 3,000 cases last as of Tuesday. Hospitalizations statewide have been falling since January 26 when the omicron wave peaked at 3,400 virus positive patients under care. The number of COVID-19 patients fell to just over 2,800 cases over the past week.

However, the number of childhood virus hospitalizations remains stubbornly high. At last report there were 87 children under hospital care with 17 requiring an ICU and three on respirators.

This past summer’s Delta surge still holds the all-time record for pandemic hospitalizations. By early last fall some 3800 virus positive Tennesseans were hospitalized statewide.