Nashville officials told local residents last Friday that surrounding counties had suddenly surpassed the city in its COVID-19 count, but they could only claim that because prisoners two counties away contracted the virus.
On Tuesday The Tennessee Department of Health provided The Tennessee Star with raw data to demonstrate how Nashville officials mischaracterized the situation.
As reported, those prisoners, 1,299 inmates and 50 staff members at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville, tested positive for the virus.
Those cases were all asymptomatic.
Nashville officials likely claimed this to make the case that local businesses should remain closed and residents should continue to remain at home.
This, after members of Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s office, the Metro Department of Health, and the Tennessee Department of Health did not directly answer our one pressing question:
“Can you please break down the confirmed COVID-19 numbers for each of the counties in the Mid Cumberland Region for last Thursday and Friday of last week (April 30 and May 1)?”
As reported, counties in the Mid Cumberland Region, which surround Davidson, include Trousdale. Trousdale County does not border Davidson County.
But TDH officials gave us the raw data, and we calculated the answers ourselves.
According to that data, on Thursday, April 30 all of the Mid Cumberland Region counties had a combined total of 2,318 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Davidson County, which, again, is not formally a part of the Mid Cumberland Region, had 2,612 confirmed cases. So, on this date, Davidson County still had higher virus numbers than all of the Mid Cumberland counties combined.
However, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Trousdale County increased from 123 on Thursday to 1,020 on Friday, May 1. The number of cases in Trousdale dramatically increased as prison officials announced the numbers at their facility.
Take the Trousdale County numbers into account, and there were 3,277 confirmed COVID-19 cases for the Mid Cumberland Region counties on Friday and 2,652 confirmed cases for Davidson County. At this point the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mid Cumberland Region counties exceeded those in Davidson County.
The Mid Cumberland Region numbers do not precisely match the 3,227 count that Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Alex Jahangir delivered at a press conference Friday. Nor do they precisely match the 2,832 number he delivered for Davidson County that day.
Regardless, without the asymptomatic rise in numbers at the Trousdale prison, Davidson County would still exceed surrounding counties in its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Nashville officials still have not said whether it’s fair or accurate to cite numbers from a prison under these circumstances.
– – –