Williamson County saw 23 new COVID-19 cases come in on Friday's tally. 

The overall county number now stands at 5,478, with 375 of those cases considered active. 

5,065 county residents are either recovered or labeled as inactive, and 38 people have died. 68,363 negative tests have been conducted thus far. 

The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 197,432 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 971 cases since Thursday on 12,124 new test results — a 6 percent positivity rate. 

Of the total number of cases, 8,827 people have been hospitalized and 2,515 have died — up 45 and 14, respectively, from the numbers 24 hours earlier. More than 2.9 million tests have been administered in the state.

The number of active cases in Tennessee has decreased approximately 9 percent from the number two weeks ago, with the state reporting 13,722 individuals infected with COVID on Friday.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID across the state, however, has risen 10 percent in the past two weeks. Nearly 842 people are currently being treated at 107 hospitals; they make up less than 8 percent of total hospitalizations in the state. 

In terms of capacity, the state reports that 16 percent of inpatient beds and 14 percent of ICU beds remain available. Nearly 69 percent of the state's ventilator supply — which was low in March until officials acquired about 1,000 more — is still available. 

Older, rural infections driving increased hospitalizations

New data from Vanderbilt University’s Department of Health Policy shows hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increasing across most of the state, largely driven by increased infections among older adults. 

“What we have also seen is a shift in the age distribution of new COVID-10 cases in Tennessee regions recently into older age groups, which we know to be at higher risk of poor outcomes,” the department wrote on Twitter. 

This is especially true in some of Tennessee’s rural regions — including West Tennessee, the Upper Cumberland, Northeast Tennessee and South Central — where nearly half of reported new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in individuals aged 50 or older. In the past two weeks, rural counties have reported 61 percent more cases and 100 percent more deaths than their urban counterparts.

Middle Tennessee is reporting the youngest age profile of new cases in the state yet has seen a 12 percent increase in hospitalizations since Sept. 24. Researchers note this may be driven by admissions coming from outside of the area.

Several counties surrounding Nashville have recently lifted mask mandates. And starting Oct. 1, long-term care facilities can allow visitors. Gov. Bill Lee has repealed all social and business restrictions in the 89 counties under his authority, but a state of emergency remains. 

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

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