Residents in seven of Tennessee’s 95 counties have apparently managed to steer clear of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, at least as of Saturday.
According to data on the Tennessee Department of Health’s website, no one in Crockett, Hancock, Lake, Moore, Pickett, Rhea, or Van Buren counties had tested positive for the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean no one there was symptom-free and at least feared they might have had it.
According to the TDH’s website, the following number of people in each of those counties tested themselves for COVID-19.
• Crockett County: 68 people tested negative
• Hancock County: 17 people tested negative
• Lake County: 24 people tested negative
• Moore County: 31 people tested negative
• Pickett County: 29 people tested negative
• Rhea County: 167 tested negative
• Van Buren County: 35 tested negative
These seven counties are rural and have small populations.
According to the most recent numbers available through the U.S. Census, Rhea County has slightly more than 33,000 residents. Crockett County, meanwhile, has slightly more than 14,000 residents. Hancock, Lake, Moore, Pickett, and Van Buren counties have fewer than 7,100 people.
As of Saturday night, Tennessee had 5,114 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 101 confirmed deaths.
Shelby County had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,130, while Davidson County had 1,111 cases.
As The Tennessee Star reported Saturday, a model by Vanderbilt University Medical Center said social distancing has brought Tennessee close to — but not close enough to — the point at which COVID-19 is being contained. A briefing paper is available here.
The researchers, including Dr. John Graves, told media Friday that new CDC data shows the Wuhan infection transmission number may have been up to 5.7, and to contain an outbreak, the number must go below 1. They recommend maintaining social distancing until there is a sustained drop in cases as well as reliable and fast testing and tracing of contacts.
The worst-case says more than 15,000 could need hospitalization by early May in a runway breakout; the middle-level assumes a peak in early June with about 5,000 hospitalizations; and the other assumes a mid-May peak with far fewer hospitalizations.
Vanderbilt estimates the transmission number in Tennessee dropped from over 5 in mid-March to about 1.4 the week of April 6 because of social distancing.
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