COVID-19: 173 UC cases, the numbers explained

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

UPPER CUMBERLAND – The Tennessee Department of Health released the Thursday, April 9, COVID-19 testing numbers showing that the Upper Cumberland’s number of positive tests only grew by nine to 173 positives throughout the 14-county U.C. region. 

An analysis of the numbers revealed that U.C. counties are among the highest in percentage of the population tested, with six of the 14 counties testing at or higher than the overall percentage tested statewide. Tennessee has tested 0.9% of the total population of the state based on the 2010 census numbers. 

Clay County at 1.3% is second in testing statewide following only Williamson County at 1.4% of their population.

Chart showing top counties in percentage of population tested.

Macon (1.2%) and Cumberland (1.1%) are both above the state average of 0.9% while Putnam, DeKalb and Overton at 0.9% have tested the same. 

Smith, Jackson and Cannon have each tested 0.8% of their population, putting nine of the 14 counties in the top 18 of 95 counties in percentage of their population that has been tested. All of the U.C. counties were in the top 57% in percentage of population tested.

There is a common misconception that the number of positive tests is directly proportional to the number of tests performed. An analysis of the data showed no correlation between the two. Cumberland County has tested 617 people, or 1.1% of its population, yet only 34 or 5.5% tested positive. Similarly, Greene County tested 160 people, or 0.2% of its population, and 13.8% tested positive.

Putnam County has now had 82 positive test results, Cumberland has 34 and Macon has 18. Other U.C. counties are in single digits with Cannon at seven, Clay at two, DeKalb at seven, Fentress at two, Jackson at five, Overton at five, Smith at five, Warren at three and White at three.

Pickett and Van Buren remain the only counties in the U.C. with no cases of COVID-19.

Putnam at 12.1% of the tests resulting in positives is still the only county in the U.C. that has a higher percentage of positive test results than the state average of 7.7% Eight of the U.C. counties had less than 4% of their tests come back with positive results, DeKalb (4%),  Smith (3.1%), Overton (2.4%), Fentress (2%), Clay (1.9%) and Warren (1.6%).

In total, there are 94 deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19. In the U.C., only one death in Macon County is listed in the official numbers, although two residents of Macon County’s White House Assisted Living facility are now deceased as a result of the virus.

Due to the holiday weekend testing will be done at county locations from 9 a.m. to noon. 

Statewide coronavirus numbers can be found here. The statewide numbers for positive tests will be updated daily at 2 p.m. A map with more detailed information is available here.

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