The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 18,378 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 367 cases from the number on Monday afternoon. Of those people, 1,498 individuals have been hospitalized and 305 people have died, up nine and four in 24 hours, respectively.

Nearly 8,700 test results were processed and reported since Monday, bringing the statewide total to 346,123 people tested.

State health officials will receive more than $155 million of the $10.25 billion in funding being distributed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to support and expand testing for COVID-19. Tennessee ranks among the top states in the nation in per capita testing, and state health officials have recently begun mass testing within populations deemed more susceptible to becoming infected and experiencing bad health outcomes by COVID-19, including nursing homes, public housing and the state’s correctional facilities.  

The number of cases reported daily will fluctuate because of the mass testing, said Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, because officials expect to find a higher yield of positive cases among these populations. Piercey has previously said the department will begin piloting a new antibody test on health care providers across the state. However, as of late last week that initiative had not yet launched.

The state has also tapped into rapid testing equipment from Abbott, a device with emergency approval from the FDA and endorsed by the White House, to use for testing hospitalized patients and health care providers. The FDA has since cautioned the public about a high volume of false-negative readings from the test. The state has not yet said whether its is continuing to use Abbott's testing technology.

Williamson County's case count rose to 492 Tuesday, per the state's map, with 10 deaths and 8,005 negative tests conducted. 

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

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