Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson expressed concern over a recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the county during a county Board of Commissioners Budget Committee meeting on Monday.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Williamson County experienced an increase of 141 confirmed active cases Saturday through Tuesday (a 32% increase) for a total of 520 confirmed active cases in the county. As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, the department has reported 5,735 total cases in the county.
“For the last two or three weeks, we were seeing awful good numbers — numbers being pushed down, etc., etc. — and then all of a sudden, it just spiked here in the last few days,” Anderson said.
County Attorney Jeff Moseley said there are currently 17 COVID-19-related hospital admissions at Williamson Medical Center, seven of which are in the intensive care unit. He said two weeks ago, only two COVID-19 patients were in the intensive care unit.
Additionally, county deaths related to COVID-19 increased this week from 36 to 40 total.
“We’re seeing a definite uptick, whether that’s a second wave or complacency, we really can’t say, but those are the numbers we’re seeing,” Moseley said.
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden noted the schools are seeing a similar trend, saying about 15% of active cases in the county are affecting students or school staff.
“That tends to be concentrated at our high schools; that’s what we’re finding,” Golden said. “And those active cases trigger some pretty substantial quarantines.”
As of Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 3 p.m., the district reported 1,561 students and staff members were in quarantine due to exposure to a positive case. As a result, Page High, Independence High and Summit High schools are currently having their students learn remotely until the return from fall break on Tuesday, Oct. 13. This follows a two-week closure of Fairview High School earlier in September due to an increase in cases.
“What we believe we’re seeing — and we’re not medical people, right, we’re school folks — is that some individuals who are symptom-free end up spreading the virus to someone who didn’t show symptoms, and it just kind of mushrooms from there,” Golden said. “That’s a gross oversimplification from somebody on the education side, but it sure seems that’s what’s happening. So, to us, that re-emphasizes the need to wear masks, because there are a lot of folks out there who don’t know that they have it and are inadvertently spreading it.”
Anderson said the Ag Expo Center in Franklin, the designated COVID-19 testing site for the county, is seeing a drop in tests “consistent to down and around 300 a day whereas, at one time, we did over 1,000 a day." He did say he’s not alarmed, believing many are receiving tests from other clinics that are then reporting their numbers to the state health department to funnel into the data for the county.
County commissioner for District 4 Chad Story, however, shared that he has been told by the health department that some private clinics don't report their COVID-19 test numbers daily but instead may report them every few days, wondering if this spike in cases is a result of clinics reporting several days' worth of positive tests at once.
According to the state health department, 2,236 COVID-19 tests were reported Sunday and Monday, Oct. 4-5, while 2,209 tests were reported from Tuesday, Sept. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 3. The seven-day average percent positive from that week was 7.2%.
True to this week, since Sept. 1, Sundays and Mondays tend to be the days during which the highest number of tests are reported. Below is a breakdown of the average number of tests reported on each day of the week over the past five weeks (Sept. 1 to Oct. 5).
• Sundays: 696 tests on average
• Mondays: 846.6 tests on average
• Tuesdays: 350.4 tests on average
• Wednesdays: 578.6 tests on average
• Thursdays: 484.5 tests on average
• Fridays: 598 tests on average
• Saturdays: 462.4 tests on average
The mayor urged the community to continue taking safety precautions pertaining to the pandemic.
“My plead to all of you is to continue to wash those hands, to do the social distancing, wearing the masks and be diligent and don’t let this thing get away from us,” Anderson said, adding that the county and cities therein are “trying to figure out what to do next.”
For more information about COVID-19 numbers in Williamson County and Tennessee, visit tn.gov/content/tn/health/cedep/ncov/data.html, or find additional county-specific data at williamsonready.org/306/Local-COVID-19-Case-Data.