NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health reported a staggering number of COVID-19 cases across the state on Wednesday — 152,689 people sick with the coronavirus.
That is nearly double the previous peak in cases, set in early September 2021. It also amounts to nearly 1 in 50 Tennesseans who tested positive for the coronavirus. It also does not include results from at-home tests.
Health departments in Knox County and the state recently changed their policies to report COVID-19 data once per week, instead of reporting data daily.
"We've been providing that data for two years, the community knows what to do," said one health leader. "We're all tired of it. We're all tired of these. We're tired of the challenges that it presents for all of us and our families."
On Jan. 8, the state also reported a new death due to COVID-19. In the week before that, the number of deaths per day ranged from 21 people to 50 people. They said a total of 21,095 people have died in the state so far from COVID-19.
TDH said that 214 people died between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8 from COVID-19. There was also a record number of new cases — 94,522.
Around 4 days ago, the Knox County Health Department also reported one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases ever. For the week ending Saturday, Jan. 8, Knox County reported a record 6,766 active COVID-19 cases. Nearly 4,000 new cases were reported during the period between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8.
More up-to-date information on the county was not immediately available, since they moved to weekly data reports.
Knox County Schools also reported an uptick in the number of cases in schools on Jan. 12. They said 234 students were sick with COVID-19 and 56 staff members were sick with it, for a total of 290 active cases.
The day before, 157 students were reportedly sick with COVID-19 along with 53 staff members.
Officials at KCS said around 80% of students were present at Central High School, with fewer than 15 cases reported among students at the school. Karns High School also reported less than 30 cases. However, according to KCS, more than 290 students were absent from the school.
"We are seeing a surge, absolutely, just like the state and the rest of the country," said a health leader. "But that's why we need to bring it back to that layered mitigation strategy and continue doing those things."