NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The transmission rate of COVID-19 in Davidson County has increased to 1.0 after an additional 100 cases were reported on Monday. Health offiicals also reported two deaths.

The increase raised Metro's total to 2,588, an increase of 375 new cases since Saturday.

Dr. Alex Jahangir said it was likely the Safer at Home order for Nashville would be extended because of the data.

"May 1 is Friday and, as we've discussed, we'll probably extend the order for sometime," said Jahangir on Tuesday. "I don't have an answer for when that is and, and I have mentioned, we'll try to give everyone enough leadway to when that is."

"Your efforts will largely determine the Safer at Home order in Nashville," said Cooper.

Jahangir said a dashboard that shows a lot of the data that is being considered before reopening is being developed for the public to see. It should be posted in the next day or so.

The mayor's roadmap for reopening Nashville has four phases. If at some point during the recovery process the numbers spike, there is a mechanism that will allow the city to roll back to a previous step on the roadmap.

"The phased reopening effort contains built-in triggers to revert back to Safer at Home orders if we see a downward trend," said Cooper.

The increase of contact tracing in the city in response to clusters, such as an increase of cases in southeast Nashville, has caused the positive numbers to increase somewhat. The city is conducting more testing on those who have contacted people who have tested positive.

"We have a high volume of cases reported each day for a period of several days now, largely due to increased testing," said Metro Health Department epidemiologist Leslie Waller. "We have expanded a testing program for people who might have been expsoed and finding some of them have been exposed."

Health officials are seeing an increase in cases in distribution centers and food processing plants, such as Tyson Foods in Goodlettsville where several tested positive for COVID-19.

"We're seeing an impact on warehouse distribution centers, food processing plants," said Waller. "The virus is having a big impact on our essential workers."

The health department has teamed with the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition to reach those immigrants, many of who live in the southeast Nashville area where a lot of the cases are currently being reported.

"We must include immigrants in our plans to solve this outbreak," said Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition. "Many are going to work in unsafe conditions because they're worried about being deported or because they don't have the same resources available to them as other Nashvillians.

"We're trying to connect families suffering in these communities with organizations that can help and make sure everyone has access to testing."

Meharry Medical College President/CEO Dr. James Hildreth said the COVID-19 virus will be a part of our lives for the forseeable future.

"We need to take this seriously! In just four months we've gone from a handful of cases to nearly 1 million, 56,000 have died," said Hildreth. "You can't compare this to the flu. If influenze caused this degree of illness, we would be under similar circumstances."

Hildreth warned of another possible strain on the healthcare system when winter gets here.

"We could be dealing with an outbreak of the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. It may overwhelm the healthcare system," said Hildreth. "It will continue to spread until we have enough immunity as a human species."

Hildreth said if a vaccine is available in one year, to obtain "herd immunity" 60% of the people will need to be immune.

"It will likely be longer than one year before we're free of this," said Hildreth.

 Related coverage

No date set to reopen Nashville
Mayor releases 'Roadmap' to reopen Nashville
Governor releases steps to reopen Tennessee
Health department says about 120 Tyson employees have tested positive for COVID-19
Shelbyville Tyson plant to temporarily close following COVID-19 cluster
 
 
 

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