State launches new COVID website for citizens

The new state website includes a COVID dashboard specifically for Moore County. Here is shows the number of cases reported per day along with the seven day average. (Graphic Provided)

This week, the Tennessee Department of Health launched a new state website (covid19.tn.gov) to help citizen get information and track the virus in their communities.

The new site addresses prevention including masks, which reduce COVID exposure by as much as 80 percent, according to the site. It also encourages frequent hand washing, social distancing, frequently cleaning and disinfecting, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you feel sick.

It also explains the symptoms of COVID-19, which included a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. It offers a self screening tool and helps those concerned that they may have been infected find the nearest testing site.

The website provide both state and county level dashboards. It shows total cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and inactive/recovered cases. It reports numbers of cases reported per day, testing per day, and the seven day positivity average.

To view the new Moore County dashboard, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Local Public Safety official explains change in COVID numbers reporting

Thanks to Moore County Public Safety Director Jason Deal, we now understand a little more about the confusing COVID-19 numbers reported by the state last Thursday. On Friday morning, he shared information supplied by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) about the changes.

In it, state health official explain that they are “improving” the data to reflect the evolving knowledge of the pandemic in our state.

Two major changes

The reports now reflect two major changes. One, active cases are now calculated differently — shortening the active period from 21 days to 10 days. This is resulting in a huge difference in the active case count. Before the change, the TDH numbers reflected 36 active cases in Moore County. After the change, there were just 15.

According to TDH, the case count reports will now include figures for “Inactive/Recovered” cases and will no longer include data for “Recovered” cases. “Inactive/Recovered” cases will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date). This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days. Previously, TDH considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.

Also, the 18 new cases that showed up last Thursday were in part a data correction. According to the state around 1,700 Tennessee cases were incorrectly assigned to the wrong counties based on patient-provide information. This could for example happen with someone living inside Moore County has a Tullahoma or Mulberry zip code, which is common.

“These cases will be corrected all at once, which will result in case counts changes for some counties,” the state said.

It’s a statement that tracks. On September 3, Moore County’s new COVID cases jumped 18 from 97 to 115. Since then, Moore County gained no new cases on September 4 and September 7, and one new case on September 5, September 6, and September 8.

The state now also provides county snapshots that show total cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and inactive or recovered cases on a county level. To view that daily report by county, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Reporting changes cause COVID data confusion

{Graphic Provided by the TN Department of Health}

STATE NEWS — Today the Tennessee Department of Health released new numbers based on changed modeling and it’s causing confusion with both state and county leaders as well as media across the state. The TDH is reminding residents to consider case trends over several days and not just the daily COVID counts as it makes adjustments to the way it monitors cases counts in the state.

On Thursday, the afternoon COVID numbers supplied by the state showed Moore County’s COVID-19 case count jumped by 18 from 97 to 115. That large fluctuation is just a correction to the numbers, state officials explain.

The Tennessee Department of Health made changes to the way COVID-19 data is reported today. For example, the state will no longer provide numbers for “recovered” cases and instead TDH will report the number of “Inactive/Recovered” cases. This will include cases who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or for asymptomatic individuals, their specimen collection date) and who are not deceased.

The state also reported the there are an approximate 1,700 cases for whom the county of residence needs to be corrected and that correction will happen all at once.

They also explained that occasionally a commercial laboratory will experience issues with sending results electronically. When this occurs and then gets resolved, TDH uploads a batch correction as quickly as possible but those corrections sometimes result in a large fluctuation in the daily numbers.

It’s unclear which (if any) of these changes caused the big jump in Moore County numbers.

It’s also important to note that Moore County’s active case count, according to the state, went from 36 to just 15 even though the total increase overnight was 18 cases. Clearly THD new reporting parameters is experiencing growing pains. The Lynchburg Times will continue to closely monitor these number over the next several days. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

March 29 Update: Confirmed cases now in Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln counties

On Sunday at 2 p.m. the Tennessee Department of Health reported that the four counties that surround Moore County all now have confirmed COVID-19 cases. Moore County is one of just 21 Tennessee counties to have no confirmed cases.

Today, the state number of confirmed cases jumped by 164 to 1,537 – an 11 percent increase. The state raised the total number of COVID-19 related deaths to seven.

Here’s a summary of the this week’s events:

MONDAY | The state confirms a case in Lincoln County. Franklin County confirmed a case the previous day. The City of Tullahoma issued a Shelter at Home order and declared a state of emergency.

TUESDAY | Tullahoma walks back their Shelter in Place order and lifts their curfew. The number of cases increased by 52 but less than one percent of the state population have been tested. Still no confirmed cases in Moore, Bedford, or Coffee counties.

WEDNESDAY | Wednesday’s cases spiked to 784 and the Tennessee Department of Health also confirmed a case in Bedford County. Three of the four counties surrounding Moore County now have COVID-19 cases.

THURSDAY | State numbers continue to inch near the 1,000 mark while Moore County continues to be one of the few Tennessee counties without a confirmed case.

FRIDAY | COVID-19 numbers in the state broke the 1,000 mark with the total of new cases now at 1,203 according to the Tennessee Department of Health. With 85,356 cases the U.S. becomes the epicenter of the pandemic.

SATURDAY | Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee confirms that Coffee County now has its first confirmed case. This means that all four counties surrounding Moore County – Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln – all have confirmed COVID-19 cases.