Tennessee COVID-19 Deaths Spike 50 Percent, With Record Hospitalizations

Novel coronavirus cases continue to soar in Tennessee, where confirmed infections are reaching nearly 87,000 and total deaths are climbing towards 1,000. On Thursday, the state reported a record single-day spike in deaths and hospitalizations, the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed.

The total new deaths reported in the last week marked a 50 percent jump from the total recorded the previous week. The state reported 129 total new deaths from July 17 to 23, a 50 percent spike from the 86 total new deaths reported from July 10 to 16, according to data compiled by Worldometer. The state reported 37 new fatalities Thursday, more than doubling the 17 deaths reported Wednesday, according to Worldometer.

A record 109 hospitalizations were also reported Thursday, the highest level seen in a single day, raising the state's weekly average of daily hospitalizations to 78, the highest weekly average reported to date, the department noted.

The latest figure is the highest daily death toll recorded since the outbreak began, bringing the statewide total deaths to 925, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The age range of the latest daily death toll was reported to be 31 years and older, a third of whom were said to between 71 and 80 years of age, the department confirmed.

As of Wednesday, the state's intensive care units (ICU) reached 84 percent capacity, with 16 percent (319) of the state's total ICU beds (2,034) reported to be available, according to the latest report from the state's health department.

Hospital beds were also at near full capacity, with 18 percent (2,141) of the state's total floor beds (11,864) reported to be available, according to the latest report Wednesday from the state's health department.

Hospitals in the mid-southern area of the Memphis and Shelby County region have been severely impacted by the outbreak. Officials are reportedly looking at potentially opening the alternative care facility in Memphis to help cope with the surge in patients, Memphis-based WMC-TV reported.

Cases at a nursing home in Bristol were reported to have nearly doubled in less than a week. Bristol's Christian Care Center, home to 120 residents, reported 92 cases on Wednesday, local officials confirmed, Tennessee's Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Bristol, Tennessee, Nascar race, July 2020
Fans wearing face masks at the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 15, 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee. Getty Images

Clusters of cases have been reported at 113 long-term care facilities in Tennessee. A total of 1,049 residents and 799 staff tested positive, while 190 residents have died following infection, according to figures reported on the department's website.

The number of active cases (those currently infected who are being treated in hospital or recovering at home) has been increasing on a sharper incline from around June 19, according to Worldometer.

Tennessee was recently noted to be among the states with "red zones" following a surge in cases in a report from the White House published by The Center for Public Integrity.

At a press conference Thursday, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey warned it is "critical and pressing" for residents to wear face coverings and remain at home when applicable, and follow other official safety recommendations issued by the White House.

"For mask-wearing to be sustainable you need to have a buy-in...a mandate for a mandate's sake is not as an effective approach," Lee said at the briefing, noting that residents rely on local authorities to encourage them in the right direction.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the U.S. states with the most COVID-19 cases.

covid-19 states statista

Most businesses in Tennessee reopened from May 1 when the stay-at-home order was lifted. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee noted: "These businesses will open according to specific guidance that we will provide in accordance with state and national experts in both medicine and business."

Over 15.5 million people across the globe have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including over four million in the U.S. More than 8.8 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 633,600 have died, as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrate the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

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The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. states and the European Union.

New COVID-19 cases in U.S. vs EU
Average number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the European Union. STATISTA