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Nearly every TN county has unacceptable virus transmission rate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —Nearly every Tennessee county has an unacceptable coronavirus transmission rate.

Smith County in the midstate and Lake County to the west are the only remaining counties, as of Monday, that have acceptable transmission rates.

About 97%, or 93 out of 95 counties, have a transmission rate "above the threshold," according to the state health department.

There's about40,000 active COVID-19 cases in the state, as of Monday morning.Out of Tennessee's 109,627 virus cases, Dr. James Hildreth, CEO of Meharry Medical College, said 60% have come in the last four weeks.

"Fact that 60% of all cases occurred just in last month very concerning - points to a potentially exponential surge in state," Dr. Hildreth wrote. "We need to redouble our mitigation efforts."

Data released Monday shows 93 of the state's 95 counties, or 97%, are "above the threshold" for acceptable rates of virus transmission. This is used the help determine if residents can visit family in long-term care facilities.

Shelby County currently has the highest daily COVID-19 case average with 344 and Davidson, having decreased in the past week, is second in the state with 234.

Speaking to national news last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there are "early signs" that at outbreak could be brewing in Tennessee,Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

Dr. Fauci said these states are "starting to have very early indication that the percent of cases is starting to go up."

"That’s a sure fire sign that you’ve gotta really be careful," Dr. Fauci said. "And if you’re trying to open up please do it in a way that it’s in accordance of the guidelines."

Dr. Fauci said "we can't afford" another surge like some southern states, including Florida and Texas, have seen. He says these COVID-19 surges can be prevented with cautious reopening.

Meanwhile, another top U.S. coronavirus official Dr. Deborah Birx, traveled to Nashville last week and she spoke specifically about rural areas during her message.

"It's in all your rural counties. The virus is there. It’s spreading, it will hit your nursing homes," Dr. Birx said. "Whether you live in a rural area or an urban area, you need to wear a mask to protect your family."

Gov. Bill Lee maintains he’s not going to issue a statewide mask mandate, instead leaving it up to individual counties. State Heath Commission Dr. Lisa Piercey said all Tennesseans should be taking precautions.

“Above all, take every single measure to protect those around you that may be vulnerable,” Dr. Piercey said. “Again, those are the recommendations. None of them are new.”

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