NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Health officials in Nashville released a new report on Wednesday morning on the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases, "due to widespread community transmission." 

The epidemiology team said testing for COVID has been high with more than 300,000 tests per week for the last five weeks. They said the weekly percent of tests that were positive increased 50.7%, from 6.9% to 10.4%. 

"The doubling rate for COVID cases has dropped rapidly since the beginning of October, and as of Nov. 18, the doubling rate was 66 days. As cases double, so approximately will hospitalizations and deaths. Therefore, we could look for the 350 total COVID deaths as of Nov. 18, to approximately double over the next 2 months if case incidence remains the same," the report said.

Health officials said during that same time, hospitalizations were increasing with most patients hospitalized in Davidson County Hospitals since the pandemic started in March.

During the last month, health official said about "17% of Davidson County cases have confirmed social contact with other known cases during their exposure period." In addition, health officials said "27% of Davidson County cases have consistently reported workplace exposures in the last month."

Health officials said the proportion of cases "with a household exposure as their potential source has also remained steadily high since early fall."

"Combined, these sources of exposure currently account for approximately 71% of all potential exposures. These exposure categories are also the most intimate," the report said.

Health officials said with the holiday season and winter months coming up, Nashvillans should do the following: 

  • Please strongly consider minimizing or eliminating holiday travel, and carefully think through your arrangements and plans upon arrival
  • Do not hang out or socialize in-person with anyone outside your bubble, and if you do please be cautious to not expose high-risk people to yourself after you’ve socialized with others
  • Work from home whenever possible; businesses are encouraged to allow this policy
  • If you’re feeling ill, wear a mask even while in the home and keep your distance from household members
  • Wear a mask if you and others gather; COVID spreads easily indoors, even if you’re with friends and family

Health officials talked about the increase in clusters and how they are trending the same as cases. 

There is a high number of school clusters over the past week, health officials said. They added there are 69 cases associated with a cluster involving in-school transmission. 

"Most cases in the school-based population are still acquiring their infections outside of the classroom. We are confident that in-classroom transmission remains low relative to other exposures among this population due to the controlled environment and finite population that is easy to track. This continues to differ from other settings where the population is not as easily tracked," the report said.

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