With the coronavirus pandemic, we are in unprecedented times, with governments having to use incomplete and rapidly evolving information to determine how to best keep their people safe as well as keep local economies afloat. I want to commend Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Health for the steps they have taken to date to strengthen our state in the fight against COVID-19.
Every day, the Tennessee Department of Health releases figures tracking the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in each county and statewide. In an effort to raise awareness about these figures and understand how our changes in behavior – including business closures, school closures, and sheltering in place for non-essential workers – is impacting infection rates, NashvilleHealth will be sharing daily tracking updates and insights based on Department of Health data.
Here is the latest data as of 3pm on March 24th. Tennessee cases continue to grow. We are still in the beginning stages of the pandemic – this will get worse before it gets better and will be a significant burden on vulnerable populations, families, small businesses, and our healthcare professionals. We must recognize that the personal choices we make today will have a direct impact on our state and our nation’s ability to weather this pandemic.
While it is still too early to determine how much behavior changes are “flattening the curve,” so far the data suggests that the majority of documented cases in Tennessee (69%) are ages 50 and under, which means we are doing a good job protecting our seniors to date. But it does raise the question whether younger Tennesseans are taking the pandemic as seriously as they might.
As testing ramps up significantly over the next two weeks, we expect to see a substantial increase in documented cases. As testing and social distancing continues, we hope to provide you with an increasingly clearer picture of the impact the steps our state and our counties are taking, and what we as Volunteers can do to stem the tide of coronavirus in our communities.
Senator Bill Frist, MD
Data acquired from the Tennessee Department of Health Website, analyzed by Sajid Khan, SVP at Change Healthcare and a NashvilleHealth board member