The Tennessee Department of Health has announced changes to its COVID-19 reporting processes that will prioritize different data points on its dashboard, add insights on outbreaks within individual counties and dramatically cut the number of active cases tallied.

State officials say they will from now on interpret active cases as anyone who has tested positive for COVID within a 14-day period — down from 21 days — or has not been cleared as recovered by contact tracing investigations.

The time standard is used when contact tracing has not been conducted on an infected individual. A senior official with the health department said the change was a result of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days. 

The state is also replacing the “recovered” data metric with “inactive” cases to better reflect the reality that the health department cannot fully know whether each case is no longer sick. A case is now considered inactive after 14 days even if the health department has not consulted with the individual.

Williamson has 4,035 on new inactives/recoveries list

With the state's new reporting mandates for COVID-19 cases, Williamson County now has 4,424 overall cases of the virus. 

The active case total has dropped significantly under the new guidelines, now standing at just 360.

29 people are now listed as dying of COVID in Williamson (down one from the day before), and 4,035 are now listed as recovered or have their cases labeled as inactive/recovered. 

53,484 negative tests have been processed thus far in the county. 

The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 159,546 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 1,715 cases since Wednesday on 26,633 new test results. 

Of the total cases, 7,125 have been hospitalized and 1,815 have died — up 64 and 18, respectively, from the numbers 24 hours earlier. 

The number of active cases in Tennessee has dropped 54 percent after the state updated the way it calculates the metric. As of Thursday, the state contends only 16,163 individuals are currently infected with COVID-19. That number yesterday was 35,359.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID has fallen nearly 10 percent from the figure two weeks ago, with the state reporting 897 people currently hospitalized across 108 facilities and making up about 10 percent of all hospitalizations statewide. While urban areas continue to see a decline in hospitalizations across Tennessee, several rural regions have recently seen an uptick.

In terms of capacity, the state reports that 17 percent of inpatient beds and 15 percent of ICU beds remain available. Nearly 70 percent of the state's ventilator supply — which was low in March until officials acquired about 1,000 more — is still available.  

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

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