Monday's active COVID-19 case numbers represented the highest day-over-day spike of the entire pandemic for both Tennessee as a whole and Williamson County.
Additionally, active case numbers in the county are higher than they have ever been, and 11 Williamson County Schools have announced full or partial closures through Thanksgiving break. The cases have triggered a conversation between the district and the health department about a potential switch to remote learning for all students in third grade and above.
On Monday afternoon, the Tennessee Department of Health shared that Williamson County's active case count increased to 1,723, up 242 active cases from Sunday's 1,481. Before Monday, Sunday held the previous day-over-day record as active cases spiked from 1,288.
Confirmed active cases have increased by 613 over the last week and by 1,150 over the last month. As of Monday, over 0.7% of the county actively had the virus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Williamson County has had 9,815 total confirmed cases and 66 deaths.
This spike is mirrored by the statewide numbers, as the state health department also reported the highest day-over-day jump Monday for Tennessee. The total case count increased by 7,951 from Sunday to Monday, and the department recorded 30 more deaths for 3,923 total.
According to Williamson County Schools Board of Education member for District 9 Rick Wimberly, Brentwood Middle, Fairview Middle, Franklin High, Page High, Ravenwood High, Spring Station Middle, Summit High, Sunset Middle, Sunset Elementary third grade students, a class at Jordan Elementary and early childhood at Scales Elementary will learn remotely until after Thanksgiving break due to COVID-19 cases and quarantines affecting students and/or staff. This follows the full or partial closures of several other schools in recent weeks.
As of Monday, Nov. 9, WCS reported 138 students and 41 staff members were in isolation due to a positive test and 2,305 students and 118 staff members were in quarantine due to exposure. The district updates its numbers weekly on Tuesdays.
During Thursday night's school board work session, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said the district has found "a lot of wisdom" in addressing closures on a school-by-school basis.
According to the WCS reopening plan passed in the summer, if the county's active cases surpass 0.5% of the county's population, the district will talk with the health department about the need to transition all students in third grade and above to remote learning.
Golden said on Thursday, when active cases represented 0.488% of the county's population, that he didn't believe the time had come yet for that switch to remote districtwide, but with cases bumping that number up over two percentage points, the district is expected to address the issue during Monday night's school board meeting.
WCS with the Franklin Special School District, Williamson Medical Center, the Williamson County Health Department and Williamson, Inc. released a joint statement Monday, once again asking the community to take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.
"As we face an increasingly rapid spread of the virus, these measures are crucial for the protection of our healthcare system, already burdened with the management of available capacity, including beds and staff, to accommodate not only COVID-19 patients, but also patients with other urgent health needs," the statement reads.
As of Sunday, 15% of intensive-care-unit beds and 18% COVID-19 floor beds were available statewide. According to the state health department, there were over 1,800 hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide as of Sunday, and as of Friday, there were 153 hospitalized in Williamson County.
"Although opinions and personal experiences related to the virus vary, we must do what we can to protect our community through personal responsibility and measures to reduce virus spread," the statement continues. "Adhere to the county mask mandate that face coverings be worn by those over two years of age in public settings. Wearing a mask not only protects others, but according to new information from the CDC, can also protect the wearer."