NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – “Do I believe we’re ready to roll into Phase three as we defined it? I am,” says Dr. Alex Jahangir.
The Metro Task Force leader has been helping the Mayor and city since the COVID-19 pandemic started. He’s now helping get the city back open.
There are however two key metrics in the yellow on the “Roadmap to Reopening.” Transmission rates are at one when the goal is to keep them under one and there’s been a slight increase in 14-day new case trends.
“Yes, we’d love to have the case trend heading downwards and our transmission rate lower than one, however, our hospital capacity is strong and has remained strong. We have about 20% of ICU beds and about 25% of hospital beds available currently.”
Thursday the roadmap website listed ICU beds at only 18% capacity but Jahangir assures that’s a website update error and ICU beds are actually at 21%.
“Our public health capacity is really strong. We have a strong team of contact tracers that can very quickly tell us if there’s and infection or outbreak in one specific spot. This is how we know that when we roll into Phase 3 we can open up in which the way we are doing and carefully keep a monitor on that.”
Both Mayor Cooper and Dr. Jahangir say Phase 3 will last for at least 28 days. News4 asked if that was based on following the timeframe of Phase 2, a 28 day period, or on the metrics.
Jahangir saying, “The two are not exclusive. All we’re saying is we’re going to give two life cycles of this virus or 28 days to evaluate the data and the metrics that come in with those. We just want to give people a realistic expectation to not expect after one life cycle, meaning 14 days, that we’re going to maybe move onto a next phase. So we’re just trying to be transparent from the front end and tell you, listen this is going to take 28 days before we even consider any additional changes.”
After that he says they’ll amend and evaluate things based on the data from public health analysts and contact tracing teams.
“Our contact tracing team has kept very close records of every case in this city. And what we’re noticing is cases are occurring because people have family events, and get together and they let their guards down and perhaps don’t social distance, don’t wear a mask, maybe hug on family and friends, that spreads it. People who are living in close quarters with family members or housemates, that’s spreading it.”
Dr. Jahangir says where they haven’t seen spread is in gyms, hair salons, grocery stores, or people going out for a walk. He and other health professionals says the virus will continue to stay alive if social distancing protocols aren’t followed and masks aren’t worn.