The Tennessee Department of Health is changing how it tracks COVID-19 cases across the state. It also corrected the data for several counties when it released updates on Thursday.

With these changes, Cumberland County reported 217 cases on Thursday, the last data available before the Chronicle’s early holiday deadline. That number is down from 337 the day before.

The state said it would begin counting active cases for 14 days from a positive test instead of 21 days.

Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster said he and other county mayors have discussed the 21-day recovery with the state.

“We believed the recovered data was lagging behind what is reported,” Foster said in a Thursday press release. “In other words, we mentioned we should have many more recovered cases than reported. This in turn means that our number of active cases would be significantly overstated and that our recovered percentage was understated. The intent was to get accurate data.”

The reduction in active cases in the county resulted in the school system going back to “green,” with fewer than 303 active cases. Schools had been minimizing movement within facilities when the county’s case count jumped above 303 cases.

On Friday, the school system reported 12 active cases among students and three among staff members. There have been 119 students quarantined due to close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Eleven staff members are quarantined.

Cumberland County also had 88 new positive cases. However, the Thursday data represented a correction of about 1,700 cases statewide assigned to the wrong county, the Tennessee Department of Health said. 

Commissioner of Health Dr. Lisa Piercey said Thursday afternoon cases had been assigned to the wrong counties due to mismatched addresses and ZIP codes.

Foster said he did not know how the adjustments impacted the Cumberland County and that the corrections made it difficult to determine how many of the new positive cases were newly diagnosed cases or data corrections.

Data on Thursday showed 925 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Cumberland County residents since the health crisis began in March. There have been nine deaths, an increase of one from the day before, and 40 total hospitalizations. Cumberland County has recorded 19,083 tests since March.

Statewide, there were 1,715 new cases reported on Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 159,546. There were 18 additional deaths, for 1,815 deaths statewide since March. Currently 897 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state.

Tennessee has conducted 2.2 million tests.

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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