COVID

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed 10,052 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 134 cases from the number on Monday afternoon. 

Nearly 7,500 tests were processed and reported during the same time frame, bringing the statewide total to 161,900 people tested — nearly one for every 42 Tennessee residents.

Across the state, 894 individuals have been hospitalized and 188 people have died. Those numbers are up 57 and four, respectively, since Monday.

Restrictions loosening across some counties, including Williamson 

Gov. Bill Lee on Monday heralded the reopening of restaurants in most of the state’s counties. The governor’s decision to loosen restrictions on dine-in restaurants does not apply in the state’s most populous counties, which are working on their own plans.

“We can’t just throw the doors open while we know that a very serious health risk still exists in our state, so we’ve cracked the door open,” Lee said.

Restaurants are limited to half capacity and must take other precautions under the so-called Tennessee Pledge, an optional agreement with which Lee is asking businesses to comply.

Retail shops can open Wednesday under the guidelines, and medical providers can begin conducting some elective procedures starting Friday.

Should backsliding occur in the wake of the relaxation of precautions, Lee said “nothing is off the table” when asked if he would consider reinstituting some of the stricter recommendations.

But the governor espoused optimism that would not be necessary: “Things are changing rapidly in a very positive way.”

The state has ramped up its testing efforts in recent weeks. Another weekend blitz of drive-thru testing pushed Tennessee north of 150,000 tests conducted. Aggressive testing is “key” to the reopening strategy, the governor said.

But recent days have also brought news of a rise in positive case growth, which Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey largely attributed to targeted testing in prisons.

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

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