authors Kara Hartnett
Office of the Mayor
A total of 6,790 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee had a recent travel history, according to the state Department of Health, with the most infections reported coming out of Florida.
As of Tuesday afternoon, contact tracing investigations reported nearly 1,630 cases of COVID-19 had a recent travel history to Florida, where major outbreaks occurred after the state’s initial reopening in May led to a drastica rise in the state’s hospitalization and mortality rate and forced Gov. Ron DeSantis to impose stronger mitigations mandates to protect local health systems.
Here’s the breakdown of which states Tennessee residents traveled to prior to testing positive for COVID-19:
Florida – 1,630 casesGeorgia – 437Alabama – 413South Carolina – 412North Carolina – 325Kentucky – 238Texas – 231Mississippi – 174Indiana – 106Ohio – 106
In late June and early July, massive outbreaks overwhelmed the state’s testing and contact tracing efforts, rendering them inefficient — and, at times, useless — in tracking the spread of the virus across the state. Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey had to grow the team to nearly 1,400 people by August to keep up with new demand. Most estimates say this still isn’t enough.
The Tennessee Department of Health is unable to identify cases of COVID-19 in out-of-state residents that recently traveled to Tennessee because there is no national effort or standard to communicate contact tracing investigations between the states. Some states do not even keep track of recent travel histories.