Williamson County saw 174 new COVID-19 cases come in on Wednesday's report. 

22,533 is the new overall total of cases for the county since the pandemic's start, with 1,434 of those cases considered active. 

The death toll rose by a staggering 12 people for Williamson Wednesday, bringing the overall total to 166. 

20,933 people in the county have either recovered or had their cases deemed inactive. 153,944 negative tests have been conducted thus far. 

State totals 

The Tennessee Department of Health reported a total of 712,406 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 1,979 cases in one day on 8,529 new test results — an 11.8 percent positivity rate. 

Of the total number of cases, 9,162 people have died — up 192 from the number on Monday, an all-time high. 

The number of active cases has fallen 45 percent in the past two weeks. On Tuesday, state health officials reported that 40,711 individuals are actively infected with COVID-19.

The number of patients hospitalized with the disease in the state has fallen 34 percent in two weeks, with 2,003 people at 114 hospitals now being treated for confirmed COVID.

In terms of capacity, the state reports that 15 percent of inpatient beds (1,715) and 11 percent of ICU beds (225) remain available. Nearly 74 percent of the state's ventilator supply is still available. 

Hospitals still under strain, but ICU space is expanding 

The pandemic’s grip on Tennessee hospitals is loosening, with hospitalizations related to COVID-19 having dropped more than 30 percent in recent weeks. But dozens of facilities still face bed shortages and staffing woes. 

According to data published by the. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 21 hospitals across the state reported no available ICU beds last week, and another 40 reported critical staffing shortages.

Last week’s census data comes as state officials rush to vaccinate special populations and as COVID-19 outbreaks begin to shrink, albeit with a new variant in circulation threatening that progress. 

Health care workers, first responders and long-term care facility residents have all received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, and the next phase to vaccinate teachers and those older than 70 is underway. 

Most notably, the waning epidemic and vaccine efforts have lowered ICU utilization: At the height of the winter outbreak, patients with COVID-19 made up more than half of ICU beds. Now, they make up approximately one-third of them, making way for other high-acuity patients. 

This post originally appeared in our partner publication, the Nashville Post

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