Rutherford County reached a grim milestone over the Memorial Day holiday weekend as its number of COVID-19 positive cases rose to more than 1,000.
The Tennessee Department of Health reported Monday that Rutherford County had to date 1,029 positive cases. By Tuesday, the count had reached 1,063.
“We understand that when reviewing the raw data the tendency is to become alarmed that the number of positive tests keeps increasing,” said Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron, “but Emergency Physician Russ Galloway reminds us that there is more to it than that.”
Dr. Galloway, who serves as an emergency physician with Saint Thomas Rutherford and is also the Medical Director for Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services and Murfreesboro Fire Rescue, recently put the testing data into perspective in a public service announcement released by Rutherford County Government and the jurisdictions within.
“Tennessee, including Rutherford County, has made COVID-19 testing more accessible and free to citizens,” said Galloway. “With the number of tests increasing, it is inevitable that the number of positives will increase as well.”
Galloway encourages the public to view the number of positives in relation to the actual number of tests being administered. “Those percentages are continuing to decrease,” he said.
The Rutherford County Emergency Operations Center and Rutherford County Health Department are consistently monitoring the numbers to make sure the percentages remain at or below 10 percent positive of the total number tested.
As you can see from the graph below that the number of new positive tests has remained steady as the number of tests given has grown. This means that the virus is circulating throughout the community and vulnerable people are still at risk.
According to the Health Department, between 200-300 people are being tested in Rutherford County daily. As more tests are administered, the number of positives will continue to increase as well.
Since March 31, Rutherford County has given 11,700 tests and 9 percent of those have been positive.
COVID-19 is available at the Health Department Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, and citizens are asked to call ahead at 615-898-7880.
“We've been encouraged by measures that our citizens and businesses have taken to continue to slow the spread of this virus in our communities,” said Ketron, “but we are still not back to a ‘business as usual' state of mind.”
Ketron said it is important that residents continue to practice social distancing, wear face coverings when appropriate, and wash hands frequently for 20 seconds or more. Ketron also urges those who are sick to stay home.
“This has been a truly unique health situation with no playbook or preparedness guide,” said Ketron. “We will continually monitor this situation at all levels, federal, state, and locally to make thoughtful considerations for our community members. Please continue to be patient with us as we navigate these uncertain times together. Maintain your space. Cover your face. Help us remain #RutherfordCountyStrong.”