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COVID-19 update: 1,034 new cases

The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 135,778 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 1,034 cases since Monday on 23,114 new test results. 

Of the total cases, 96,896 people have recovered, 5,981 have been hospitalized and 1,426 have died — up 2,084, 100 and 39, respectively, from the numbers 24 hours earlier. 

The number of active cases in Tennessee has remained relatively flat in the past two weeks, perhaps signaling a slowing of the virus’ spread — albeit with fewer tests being reported per week and a positivity rate that has remained constant around 9 percent. On Tuesday, the state reported 37,456 residents are currently infected with COVID-19. 

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has decreased slightly from the figure two weeks ago, with 1,022 people currently hospitalized throughout 105 facilities and making up about 11 percent of all hospitalizations statewide. Another 209 hospitalized individuals are awaiting test results.

In terms of capacity, the state reports that 19 percent of inpatient beds and 17 percent of ICU beds remain available. Nearly 66 percent of the state’s ventilator supply — which was low in March until officials acquired about 1,000 more — is still available. 

Metro Public Health Department officials reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the countywide case count to 24,514. Of those cases, more than 21,500 people have recovered and 212 people have died.

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 17 percent of all inpatient beds and 13 percent of ICU beds in Middle Tennessee were available, both in what public health officials define as “cautionary” levels.

WMC resumes elective surgeries

Williamson Medical Center will resume elective surgeries requiring overnight hospital stays next week after more than a month of suspensions.

The medical center initially announced the suspension on July 20 after a new wave of COVID-19 patients filled hospital beds specifically designated for the virus to 70 percent capacity. As the outbreak begins to stabilize in Middle Tennessee, WMC said they will be able to safely transition to begin offering these procedures again.

“While case numbers may continue to fluctuate, Williamson Medical Center (WMC) has tracked with the state and county in seeing a stabilized pattern in the number of reported active COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations over the past two weeks. In response to this data trend, WMC is scheduled to resume inpatient elective surgeries requiring an overnight hospital stay on Monday, August 24,” a press release said. 

Nashville company enters vaccine trials

Nashville-based Clinical Research Associates is enrolling nearly 4,000 volunteers to study potential COVID-19 vaccines, including the candidate drug produced by Pfizer Inc., as part of the federal Operation Warp Speed initiative. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems, damaged families and communities, and caused significant socio-economic impacts. We now have an opportunity to fight back and return to normalcy with help from a vaccine. Healthy Nashvillians can contribute by volunteering to participate in a clinical trial,” Linda Schipani, CEO of Clinical Research Associates, said in a press release.

The study will last for two years starting in mid-August. Volunteer patients will be administered an initial dose of the potential vaccine or a placebo shot. Once the patient receives an initial dose, they will be trained to track their own progress and symptoms, and will report back to researchers on multiple occasions throughout the course of the study. 

CRA has conducted multiple vaccine trials in its 30-year history, including trials for influenza, shingles, Ebola and pneumonia, according to a press release. The firm in total has conducted more than 650 clinical trials and contributed to the FDA approval of more than 150 medicines. 

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