Nashville leaders have been pointing to the city’s progress as statewide coronavirus figures deteriorate in recent weeks. But now the city’s stats are starting to backslide.
The closely watched transmission rate is back in the red zone for Davidson County at 1.11. That means in Nashville each person with COVID-19 is getting more than one other person sick, on average. And that’s driving an increase in the rate of new cases.
The transmission rate in Nashville was briefly below 1.0, which would eventually lead to crushing the pandemic.
The city has been aiming to get below 10 new daily cases per 100,000 residents. Nashville was hovering around 15 for a while, and now it’s back up to 19.2.
“Nashville, we have a problem,” Dr. James Hildreth wrote on Twitter, linking to the city’s report of 209 new cases on Monday. “We need to renew our commitment to masks and avoiding large crowds if we are to avoid a fall surge. We crushed the virus before, we can do it again.”
Statewide totals increase sharply
Statewide figures hadn’t dropped as much as they did in Nashville over the past month, and now they’re climbing too. Tennessee just had its highest one-day total since the end of July with nearly 3,000 new cases.
And the big daily jump does not represent a backlog of cases. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health says roughly 95% of the cases represent testing done in the last five days.
Tennessee’s least populous counties are contributing an outsized number of new cases. In Middle Tennessee, Pickett, Houston and Clay counties have among the nation’s highest rates of new coronavirus infections, according to tracking by The New York Times.
Statewide, hospitalizations have also been at an elevated level, though they’ve dropped slightly in recent days. Reported deaths from COVID-19 are also as high as ever, though many of those fatalities are only now being classified even though the patients died weeks ago.
During the pandemic, hospitalizations generally rise after a surge in new cases. And a rise in fatalities tends to follow increased hospitalizations.