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Latest news, updates on COVID-19 pandemic

Staff reports

Published 5:48 PM EDT Aug 4, 2020

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FASHION HOUSE PARTY: Mayor’s office investigating crowded East Nashville house party

SPECIAL SESSION: Gov. Bill Lee calls special legislative session over bill granting immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits

LOWER BROADWAY: On Lower Broadway, partiers ignore Nashville’s mask mandate with impunity

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Belmont changes return plan 

Belmont University emailed students Tuesday to notify them of changes the university was making to its reopening plan.

Undergraduate classes will still resume Aug. 19 as planned, but will be entirely online until at least Sept. 4 when the university hopes students can return to campus. 

Students won’t be permitted to move on campus until September, the emails said. 

Graduate and doctoral classes will resume Aug. 19 on campus. 

“July was a very bad month for the COVID-19 outbreak both locally and nationally, which we did not anticipate when we began our planning for students to return to campus,” the email said. 

If any other changes are made to the upcoming semester, the emails said university officials will give at least 14 days of notice. 

State reports 1,805 new cases of COVID-19 with 25 new deaths

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,805 new coronavirus cases Tuesday. That brings the state’s total to 112,441 cases. There are currently 38,065 actives cases in Tennessee.

The state reported 25 new deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,117.

At least 4,900 people have been hospitalized in Tennessee, an increase of 92 in the past 24 hours. As many as 73,259 Tennesseans have recovered, including 2,381 new recoveries reported by the state on Tuesday.

At least 1,591,310 coronavirus tests have been performed statewide. 

DCSO reports nine inmates, 25 employees test positive

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) reported Tuesday that nine inmates were testing positive for COVID-19 and, in all, 315 had recovered from the virus. 

As of Tuesday, the jail housed 1,169 inmates, according to DCSO. The number of them on restriction is 21.

Twenty-five DCSO employees are currently testing positive and 58 have recovered.       

Nashville reports 109 new COVID-19 cases, four new deaths

The Metro Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 109 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County in the past 24 hours. 

That brings Davidson County to a total of 21,879 confirmed cases 

The total number of active cases is 3,506 with 18,174 people recovered from the virus.

The cases range in age from 1 month to 102 years of age.

Four additional confirmed deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, a 71-year-old woman, a 77-year-old man, a 78-year-old woman and a 79-year-old woman, all with underlying health conditions.

So far, 190 people in Davidson County have died after a confirmed case of COVID-19. Including both confirmed and probable cases, 199 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

So far, 175,927 tests have been given with a 12.4% positive rate. Available hospital beds stood at 19%, while available ICU beds stood at 15%, officials reported.

Shelby County’s latest cases more than five times the worst week of the spring

Shelby County reported 2,838 new coronavirus cases and 24 deaths in the week ending Monday, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

The latest week of confirmed cases is 5.02 times the worst week of the spring. The latest week of deaths is 33.3 percent greater than the worst week during of the spring.

Shelby County has had 21,492 confirmed cases and 288 deaths. That’s a rate of 2,293 confirmed cases per 100,000 people, or 84.6 percent of New York City’s rate.

Monday, Aug. 3

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron renews mask mandate

Two weeks after Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron issued a mask mandate, another one was signed that extends the order through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 29.

The decision to continue the order came after Gov. Bill Lee released Executive Order No. 55 on Friday, which extend’s Executive Order 54 and provides local government authority concerning face coverings. 

“We are continuing to assess the daily data released from the Tennessee Department of Health to assist us with making the best possible decisions for the health of our community,” Ketron said. “By extending through the end of the month, we will be a few weeks into the school year and will be able to see how that impacts our numbers as well.”

Robertson County Fair canceled

The Robertson County Fair won’t be opening this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The annual event is set to resume in 2021, organizers say.

“The Fair Board is heart-broken that it cannot have the 153rd Annual Robertson County Fair this year, but we look to next year to come back better than ever,” the organization announced on its Facebook page late last month.

Williamson County extends mask mandate through August

Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson extended a mask mandate for residents and visitors through the end of the month. 

Anderson extended the order on Monday to last until Aug. 29. On July 6, Anderson issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency and requiring county residents to wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Businesses and facilities were required to post signage at public entrances informing patrons of the requirement, per the order. Anderson said masks weren’t a requirement to vote in the August primary election. 

Vanderbilt: Coronavirus shifts to mid-sized cities

Coronavirus is now infecting and hospitalizing more rural Tennesseans as the fastest-growing outbreaks shift from Nashville and Memphis into mid-sized cities and less-populated areas, according to a new analysis from Vanderbilt researchers.

These increasingly-affected regions, which includes smaller cities like Knoxville and Jackson, are likely more vulnerable to outbreaks because they have fewer contact tracers to investigate infections and fewer hospital beds to treat seriously ill patients.

“If smaller metro areas have fewer resources for contact tracing, or if individuals and policymakers in those communities are less likely to adopt mitigation strategies, there is the potential for the disease to spread further,” the new Vanderbilt analysis states. “There is also the potential that as numbers increase in those areas, depleted health care resources may result in transfers of patients back to facilities in metro areas.”

As of May, only about 20% of new infections and hospitalizations occurred outside of Nashville, Memphis and surrounding counties, according to the analysis. As of late July, this percentage had increased to about 47%, and most of that growth had occurred in smaller metropolitan areas with less than 1 million residents.

Sunday, August 2

Two ‘transpotainment’ vehicles cited under new order

Metro police on Saturday cited two “transpotainment” drivers on Broadway for continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Transpotainment” vehicles include but are not limited to converted school buses, hot tubs, barges or tractors.

Police issued citations at 6:15 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

The citations came after the vehicles continued to operate despite a public health order that took effect Friday directing such vehicles to stop operating.

Prior to the Friday public health order, “transpotainment” vehicles were allowed to continue to operate without alcohol.

State records 1,443 new cases of COVID-19, with 6 new deaths

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,443 new coronavirus cases Sunday. That brings the state’s cumulative total to 109,627 cases, of which 40,083 are active. 

The state reported six new deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,073.

At least 4,756 people have been hospitalized in Tennessee, an increase of 32 in the past 24 hours. As many as 68,471 Tennesseans have recovered, including 820 new recoveries reported by the state on Sunday.

At least 1,561,021 coronavirus tests have been performed statewide. 


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