In the first three weeks of Tennessee’s coronavirus outbreak, the Tennessee Department of Health counted nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19, including three deaths, across the state.
Officials are calibrating the state’s response while monitoring an array of rapidly changing trends, including confirmed cases, fatalities, the number of completed tests and the rate of infection for those tested.
To provide context to the numbers and trends, WPLN News has created three interactive infographics. These visuals will update regularly.
Case Counts Are Climbing
The Tennessee Health Department compiles confirmed cases from local county health officials and publishes an update each day at 2 p.m. WPLN News is using those counts for its graphics because of their consistency.
That said, individual counties control how often they share information. And the figures are subject to revision as health officials check the quality of the data, remove duplicates and, at times, require more than one day to fill in details such as county of residence and the infection’s onset date for a given patient.
This also means state figures can lag behind cities like Nashville and Memphis, which tend to self-report larger numbers sooner.
WPLN’s chart shows county counts for Middle Tennessee. Hover to see specific tallies.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” Health Department spokeswoman Shelley Walker told WPLN. “We strive to gather and provide as much data as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Virus Reaches More Than Half Of Tennessee Counties
As of March 31, cases were confirmed in 80 of 95 Tennessee counties.
The first appeared in Williamson County on March 5. Within three weeks, about one in five cases was in Nashville, with large numbers in Shelby, Williamson and Sumner counties.
Click the right arrow to advance to the previous day’s slide, and hover over individual counties for the local case count at that time.
On some days, case counts have seen small upticks, but Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey has cautioned that the trend remains alarming.
“As the demand for testing grows … the turnaround time on that testing will also grow,” she said on March 25. “Please don’t be falsely reassured that our numbers have been lower lately, as far as daily rise. I think very soon you will see a pretty significant pickup in that number.”
Younger Adults Account For Many Cases
In Nashville and across Tennessee, young adults are accounting for a large share of confirmed coronavirus cases.
As of March 27, 26% of all the state’s cases were in the 21-30 age range.
These counts have prompted local and state officials — from Gov. Bill Lee to Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell — to target some social distancing messages at young adults.
WPLN News regularly updates these graphics using data from the Tennessee Department of Health.