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VOL. 44 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 13, 2020

Tennessee reports record new virus cases at nearly 8,000

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee reported nearly 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, topping the previous record set last Monday by more than 2,000.

Meanwhile, a Tennessee physician's group continued to push Republican Gov. Bill Lee for a statewide mask mandate, a step he has resisted. Dr. Amy Gordon Bono, a primary care internal medicine physician, said in a Friday news release that "Gov. Lee's 'fend for yourself' strategy is not working."

The renewed push came on the heels of a Vanderbilt University report last week that found Tennessee counties that have not required people to wear masks in public are on average seeing COVID-19 death rates double or more those in counties with mask mandates.

Monday's 7,951 new virus cases broke the previous daily record of 5,919 new cases, set last Monday. Case counts had never topped 5,000 prior to Nov. 7. Tennessee has reported more than 318,000 virus cases since the pandemic began.

The state also reported 30 more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, bringing the death toll in Tennessee to at least 3,923.

A spokesperson for Lee said the governor will address the state's surge in virus cases at a news briefing on Tuesday. Previously, Lee has stressed the need for personal responsibility.

"There's no doubt there's a correlation between mask-wearing and lower hospitalizations," Lee told reporters last week. "That's why we need to develop the very best strategy moving forward and call upon folks to take personal responsibility in this, and we'll continue to do so."

The Tennessee Department of Health's most recent COVID-19 critical indicators report showed that adult intensive care units in the state had only 10% of their beds available for new patients. Regular floor beds for adults were at 14% availability.

Trousdale County has the highest per capita caseload in the country, according to data compiled by The Associated Press, with 1,870 cases reported in a county whose population is 9,573. The high caseload follows an earlier outbreak at a local prison, the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. The prison was reporting two cases on Monday.

The recent rise in coronavirus cases in the Nashville area prompted organizers of the city's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, slated for Saturday, to announce they were postponing the music and running event until April.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.

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Follow AP's pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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