The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed 7,842 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 424 cases from the number on Wednesday afternoon.

Nearly 8,000 tests were processed and reported in the past 24 hours, the largest reporting increase since the state began reporting testing volumes, bringing the statewide total today to more than 125,000 people tested — nearly one for every 54 Tennessee residents. 

Across the state, 793 individuals have been hospitalized and 170 people have died. Those numbers are up 18 and four, respectively, in the past 24 hours.

On Wednesday, the state reported the highest increase in daily cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, days after Gov. Bill Lee announced the reopening of the economy. The influx was due in part to a cluster of cases identified in prisons, according to Commissioner Lisa Piercey. TDH did not disclose how many cases were attributed to that. 

Metro officials reported their largest daily case increase on Thursday morning with 182 confirmed cases, bringing the overall total to 2,144. Health officials attributed the increase to targeted testing from identified clusters, including the Tyson factory in Goodlettsville, where more than 130 workers have tested positive for the virus. Coronavirus Task Force Chairman Alex Jahangir also said more than 300 tests have been administered at the Trevecca Center for Rehabilitation and Healing after multiple cases were identified at the long-term care facility.

More than 386 cases and 37 deaths have been attributed to nursing homes or long-term care facilities in Tennessee. The Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, which three weeks ago evacuated over 100 patients and employees with COVID-19, has now confirmed more than 161 cases and 19 deaths. 

Thursday morning, Mayor John Cooper released Davidson County's plan to reopen, which will be based on a set of data metrics tracking infection rate, hospital capacity, supplies and daily case increases, among others. Jahangir said, for the most part, each metric appears stable, and if progress continues Metro could begin phasing into a reopening as soon as next week. 

Amazon backs Second Harvest deliveries

As part of a national effort to deliver more than 6 million meals between now and the end of June, Amazon is providing delivery services to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The partnership with Second Harvest, which is preparing shelf-stable groceries and pre-packaged foods, is one of seven already up and running around the country. Amazon Flex officials say they plan to grow their project to 25 markets.

“We work with hundreds of hyperlocal partner agencies, who’ve experienced an unprecedented surge in demand. We’ve heard from many in our community that they relying on food bank resources for the first time because of COVID-19,” said Nancy Keil, president and CEO of Second Harvest. “With Amazon’s help, we’ve been able to deliver food packages directly to people’s homes for the first time and offer contactless, drive-through deliveries to the unemployed, underemployed, seniors and others observing stay-at-home orders.”

ABC launches artists relief fund

The Arts & Business Council this week said it will help local self-employed or contracted artists in visual art, dance, theater and other disciplines through a relief fund. ABC executives have allocated some money from their budget and Ingram Charities, Concord, NCA Alarms, WC Dillon and Go West Creative have pitched in with gifts. Artists who meet the organization’s criteria may request up to $500 from the Greater Nashville Artist Relief Fund to compensate for work that has been canceled by the March 3 tornadoes and/or the spread of COVID-19. Applications will open Monday morning at this link.

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

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