Tennessee reports record daily high of 95 deaths from COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Department of Health reported 4,356 new COVID-19 cases and a record daily increase of 95 deaths Friday, one day after setting the previous record with 93 deaths.

Tennessee has seen 392,608 coronavirus infections and 4,876 deaths so far. There are currently 2,485 hospitalized in the state.

TDH data shows 36,179 active cases in Tennessee.

There are 3,382 active COVID-19 cases in Shelby County and another 8,302 people are in quarantine, according to data from the Shelby County Health Department.

SCHD reported 298 new coronavirus cases on Friday and six more deaths. Nearly 50,000 Shelby Countians have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic and 689 have died.

Coronavirus cases are also rising outside Shelby County. More than 10,000 cases have been reported in DeSoto County. Here’s a breakdown of cases surrounding Shelby County:

  • Tipton County - 3,858
  • DeSoto County - 10,708
  • Crittenden County - 3,235

The health department reports shrinking capacity at Shelby County hospitals. As of December 3, 92 percent of acute care beds and 93 percent of ICU beds are utilized -- 17% and 35%, respectively, with COVID-19 patients.

Healthcare Resource Tracking System
Healthcare Resource Tracking System (Source: SCHD)

Two hospital systems -- Baptist and Methodist -- have paused elective procedures for the time being.

As hospitalizations increase, the most recent data available from the health department showed a 10.4% weekly test positivity rate. The positivity rate has increased each week since the end of September, however, it declined last week. The SCHD said the testing positivity rate is the percentage of all tests conducted that are found to be positive.

COVID-19 Positivity Rate in Shelby County
COVID-19 Positivity Rate in Shelby County (Source: SCHD)

The health department says the county has plenty of testing capacity available, and anyone who needs a test can get one.

There are two community drive-thru testing sites open that do not require an appointment. They’re open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  • 2355 Appling City Cove
  • 1720 RKS Commercial Cove (off Lamar Avenue)

The City of Memphis plans to host free COVID-19 testing events this weekend. Starting at 8:30 on Saturday morning, two locations will offer to test.

  • Poplar Healthcare, 3495 Hacks Cross Road
  • Tiger Lane, 450 Early Maxwell Blvd.

The health department released new information concerning an early treatment for people who test positive for coronavirus and have the following risk factors.

  • Anyone over age 12 with obesity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes or whose immunity is compromised by disease or prescription treatments.
  • Anyone age 12-17 with sickle cell disease; neuromuscular disorder; dependence on medical intervention, such as a breathing or feeding tube; or a lung disorder such as asthma that requires daily medication.
  • Anyone over age 55 with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, COPD or other chronic respiratory diseases.
  • Anyone over age 65.

SCHD said if you test positive for coronavirus and have any of these risk factors, ask your health care provider about early COVID-19 treatments.

Business owners sound off about health directive

On Thursday, the Shelby County Health Department released a map showing the zip codes with the highest COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 population.

Shelby Co. Total COVID-19 Case Rate per 100,000 Population
Shelby Co. Total COVID-19 Case Rate per 100,000 Population (Source: SCHD)

The health department said individuals ages 25 to 34 years old have the highest coronavirus case count compared to other ages. At this time, about 20 percent of the total COVID-19 cases are people in that age group. About 60.5 percent of the cases and under age 44.

About 22,000 of the coronavirus cases in Shelby County are among African Americans, which is about 57 percent of the overall total. Sixty-two percent of the total COVID-19 deaths have been African-American.

Around 80 percent of the individuals that die from coronavirus in Shelby County are above the age of 55.

COVID-19 deaths in Shelby County by age
COVID-19 deaths in Shelby County by age (Source: SCHD)

Eighty-one percent of individuals that died from coronavirus in Shelby County also had a cardiac condition.

The health department is also investigating COVID-19 clusters where two or more cases have been identified at long-term care facilities in Shelby County. There are 23 facilities currently under investigation -- some of them experiencing more than one cluster since the beginning of the pandemic.

Both residents and staff have been infected.

Long-term care facilities with COVID-19 clusters
Long-term care facilities with COVID-19 clusters (Source: SCHD)
Long-term care facilities with completed COVID-19 clusters
Long-term care facilities with completed COVID-19 clusters (Source: SCHD)

Starting Nov. 23, a new health directive issued by the Shelby County Health Department began. The directive requires restaurants to hold limited capacity and close earlier.

Here’s what you should know about the health directive:

  • Any establishment that serves food and/or alcoholic beverages is required to:
    • Limit occupancy to 50%
    • Close at 10 p.m.
    • Require patrons to wear masks at all times except when actually eating a bite of food or drinking a beverage
    • Limit groups dining together to 6 people (but no more than 4 adults)
  • Schools are strongly encouraged to suspend all school-related close-contact sports at this time.
  • Gyms remain open at this time. All employees and patrons are required to wear masks or facial coverings at all times while in the facility, except when in the swimming pool or shower.
  • Shelby County Government expects to be able to provide special financial supports of at least $5,000 for any business that faces closures of at least 30 days that is substantially related to Health Directive No. 15. More details will be forthcoming.
Shelby Co. inmates/corrections employees with coronavirus cases
Shelby Co. inmates/corrections employees with coronavirus cases (Source: SCHD)
Detainees/corrections employees with coronavirus cases in Shelby Co.
Detainees/corrections employees with coronavirus cases in Shelby Co. (Source: SCHD)

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