COVID cases in Tennessee decline, but deaths rise sharply

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Tennessee is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases as the delta variant decreases in the state. However, deaths continue to rise and doctors are now warning people not to let their guard down.

The death toll is rising after several weeks of highly positive COVID cases in Tennessee.

“The trend of deaths will hopefully reverse, but they are still several weeks behind the number of cases,” said Dr Loren Lipworth, professor of epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

As overall COVID cases decline, they are still higher than doctors would like, which is bad news for the unvaccinated.

“A lot of these people, the ones who are going to get sick, and later be hospitalized and eventually some of these people, unfortunately, will die, so it’s a process that takes several weeks,” Lipworth said.

Deaths are often a late indicator of the intensity and extent of the COVID virus.

“Somewhere between 15 and 20% of people who get tested for COVID are actually positive and so that obviously contributes to the number of new cases,” Lipworth said. “As they become what we call active cases, some of them are hospitalized and then die, which is why these trends are lagging behind.”

Statewide, hospitals are having to adjust to the rapid rise in deaths.

Ballad Health Hospital in eastern Tennessee wrote on Facebook:

“The flattening of hospitalization cases that we are seeing today is unfortunately due in part to the deaths of many people. “

Adding: “Unfortunately this week we had to use the Johnson City Medical Center Mortuary trailer due to the high number of deaths from covid-19; there were 20 deaths last weekend alone.

Seventy-one people in Ballad healthcare facilities have died in the past seven days from COVID-19, and one in three deaths in our hospitals is linked to COVID-19. We’re approaching a death rate close to the outbreak last winter, when we had to bring a FEMA refrigerated mortuary trailer to several of our hospitals to handle the high levels of deaths we were experiencing.

Unfortunately, this week we had to use the Johnson City Medical Center trailer, due to the high death toll from COVID-19. We had 20 deaths there just last weekend. “- Ashlea Ramey

“The sad and frustrating part is that a lot of these deaths are preventable and people go into the hospital and die and as I mentioned, they are largely unvaccinated people, so this is the burden of this hospital, ”Lipworth said.

Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said the skyrocketing deaths are the result of Gov. Bill Lee having no plan.

“The governor has no plan, his only plan has been to protect his political career, he has not made political decisions about health care or outlined a plan to save lives and we are seeing the results. right now, ”he said. noted.

We have reached out to Governor Bill Lee’s office for comment on the increase in deaths and have not heard back.

More than 14,600 Tennessee residents have died since the start of the pandemic.

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