Hildreth selected for FDA vaccine committee

The Tennessee Department of Health has now reported a total of 923,520 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 2,183 cases on Monday from 11,096 new test results — a 16.7 percent positivity rate.

Of the total number of cases, 12,844 people have died — with six deaths reported in the last 24 hours.

The number of active cases in Tennessee has more than tripled in the past two weeks, with state health officials reporting that 36,086 individuals are currently infected with the coronavirus. 

In Williamson, the active case count has crossed 1,000 to reach 1,229 as of Monday. The county has crossed 30,000 overall cases (30,638) since the start of the pandemic last year. 222 people have now died, while 29,187 have either recovered or had their cases deemed inactive. 

For context, in December of last year when the pandemic was at its peak, active cases for the county on Dec. 15 was at 1,460. 

The number of patients hospitalized within the state has more than doubled in two weeks, with 1,793 people now being treated for illness caused by the virus. In terms of capacity, the state reports that 11 percent of inpatient beds and 8 percent of ICU beds remain available. Nearly 73 percent of the state's ventilator supply is still available. But the major issues hospitals now face is low staffing. 

So far, 2,715,852 Tennessee residents have been fully immunized against COVID, which amounts to 39.8 percent of the state's total population of about 6,830,000. More than 101,000 vaccine doses were administered during the past week, picking up the pace nearly 55 percent after demand had waned throughout the summer. 

A total of 5,749,639 doses have been administered across the state.

The Metro Public Health Department reported 1,139 new cases over the weekend, bringing the county total to 104,784 cases. Of them, 3,694 infections are currently active and 954 people have died.

Nashville has fully immunized 49 percent of its total population and administered more than 700,787 doses thus far. The Davidson County population is an estimated 695,000.

Meharry Medical College to require vaccines for all personnel, students

Meharry Medical College President James Hildreth on Sunday announced that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to work at the medical school, extending a rule previously established for students and clinical staff earlier this year.

Meharry employees will have until Oct. 1 to get vaccinated. In a tweet about the decision, Hildreth, a world-renowned infectious disease expert known for his work on HIV, said: “We are committed to protecting the health of our patients, all Meharrians and our community.”

With the move, the historically Black medical college will become the third medical institution in the area to announce a vaccine requirement for employees, joining Ascension Saint Thomas and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.