State announces changes to COVID data collection, reporting

The Tennessee Department of Health is improving the format for sharing of data on COVID-19 to update how some metrics are calculated and reflect evolving knowledge of the pandemic. The new format will begin September 3, 2020 and reflect a change in how active cases are calculated and a correction in county of residence for some cases. In addition, TDH is adding new resources including data snapshots for each county and a Critical Indicators Report. TDH data on COVID-19 will be posted at 3 p.m. CDT Sept. 3 at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html as the new format is implemented.

“We’re pleased to be adding new reports to help support rapid public health actions in Tennessee communities,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We also want to promote data transparency and help Tennesseans understand the reason case counts for some counties will change as we correct information based on their addresses.”

Reporting Inactive/Recovered Cases
Starting Sept. 3, TDH case count reports will include figures for “Inactive/Recovered” cases and will no longer include data for “Recovered” cases. “Inactive/Recovered” cases will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date). This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days.
Previously, TDH considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.

In the first update with the new methods, there were a total of 159,546 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee, with 1815 deaths.

In Anderson County, 915 total cases have been reported, with 838 of them now considered “Inactive or Recovered,” 69 active cases and eight COVID-related deaths.

Campbell County is reporting 347 total cases, with 310 either inactive or recovered, 34 active and three deaths.

Correcting County Locations
TDH is also correcting discrepancies in county location for about 1,700 cases, as the county to which they were originally assigned does not correspond correctly to their street addresses.
This can occur in laboratory reports because some lab systems automatically assign county location based on the patient’s ZIP code, which may be incorrect if the ZIP code straddles
county lines. These cases will be corrected all at once, which will result in case count changes for some counties. A solution is in place to automate this process in the future.

New Reports and Data Points
Starting Sept. 3, individual County Data Snapshots will provide information on case counts, hospitalizations, testing and more for each county at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/county-data-snapshot.html. In addition, the new weekly Critical Indicators Report includes information to help stakeholders monitor trends in cases,
symptoms, testing capabilities and health care system capacity. Find the Critical Indicators Report online at https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/CriticalIndicatorReport.pdf TDH is also adding data on current hospitalizations to daily information posted at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html.

Tennessee’s county health departments continue to offer COVID-19 testing at no charge to anyone who wishes to be tested. Find a map of health department locations and contact information online at www.tn.gov/content/tn/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessmentsites.html. County health department testing sites will be closed Sept. 7 for Labor Day. 

TDH is posting updated COVID-19 case numbers by 2 p.m. CDT each day at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html. Find additional information at www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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