(Update: 8:50 p.m. Jan. 25)
Reporter Kaitlin Miller spoke with Senior Pastor of Covenant of the Cross Church Greg Bullard about how he has been personally impacted with Tennessee being the number one state with COVID-19 death rates.
Bullard has lost two members of the church to the virus and is devasted with all the loss around him right now.
"People just seem lost in a way because even today I wanted to pick up the phone and call somebody that we’ve lost,” Bullard said.
Bullard has conducted funeral services for those who have passed from COVID-19 and said that conducting the services for his two friends was hard.
“It was surreal. I mean there is, there’s a power in mourning together. Funerals are not for the dead, they’re for the living,” said Bullard.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--The COVID-19 death rate in Tennessee now leads the nation according to the latest State Profile Report compiled by federal health agencies.
The weekly report compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies reflects an increase of 121% compared to last week's death rate with 8.7 per 100,000 persons. The rate is double that of the 3.9 per 100,000 national average.
The rise in death rate marks the second straight week the state has reported large increases, the week ending January 14 reflecting a 45% rise and the current report for the week of January 21 showing a 121% rise. Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey has previously stated the death rates can fluctuate as a result of data dumps which take place after the state confirms a death from COVID-19, a process which can take up to a few weeks and result in higher totals but may not represent the current environment.
The death rate increase follows the rise in new cases, the report reflecting a rate of 1,724 per 100,000 persons in Tennessee. Its a 16% increase compared to the previous week's rate of 1,481. The rate is also above the national average of 1,533 per 100,000. According to TDH data, the 7 day average of new cases is 16,226 as of January 15, the highest average reported since at least April of last year.
Hospitalizations remain low overall but are also at a peak not seen since at least October 22, of last year. According to the data, there are 3,125 Tennesseans hospitalized as of January 18 with 666 in the ICU and 374 on ventilators. The State Profile Report shows Tennessee with a 14.3 per 100 beds hospitalization rate, a slight increase compared to the previous week and well below the national average of 21 per 100 beds.
Tennessee ranks 15th in new cases, 10th in positivity rate, and 1st in death rate. The state is among the best in hospitalization rates, ranking as the 9th-lowest rate in the country.
See the full report below or CLICK HERE.