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“We think there are less people getting sick:” COVID-19 testing, cases down in Tennessee

Tennessee health officials said they've seen a downturn lately in testing and COVID-19 cases, leading officials to believe that less people might be getting sick.
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 5:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 12:07 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee health officials said they’ve seen a downturn lately in testing and COVID-19 cases, leading officials to believe that less people might be getting sick.

Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey made the comments during a media briefing Thursday, saying, “We think there are less people getting sick,” pointing to slightly lower case and testing numbers.

“The reason we think that is the case is because, if you look at what’s called our CLI, COVID-like index curve ... it really monitors the number of people that are being seen in emergency departments for COVID-like symptoms.” That indicator can be viewed here. “For the last several weeks, we have seen a downturn in that, so we do think there are less people getting sick,” said Piercey.

However, she also said that officials are concerned that people are avoiding getting tested due to fears over test result lag time. She told media that test backlogs are clearing up, and that test result turnaround is slowly getting better.

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Dr. Deborah Birx, with the White House coronavirus task force, said that Tennessee has moved from a “red” category to “yellow” in regard to the outbreak; however, she added it was still concerning. As of Thursday, August 6, Tennessee had recorded its highest number of daily deaths and cases had surpassed 116,000.

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