By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – Despite concerns that Spring Break would be one big super spreader event, Putnam County has seen no spike in COVID cases in the two weeks since it ended. Coincidentally, the 172 total COVID-19 new case number within that 14-day period was exactly the same as the number for the 14-day period immediately preceding the break.
The 14-day snapshot provides a good comparison of the effects of Spring Break since Putnam County schools and Tennessee Tech took the break at the same time this year.
As of today, Tennessee Tech has eight active cases among students and staff, nearing the low of seven that was reported on March 11, before Spring Break. Positive case numbers haven’t been that low since the university started keeping its dashboard in August 2020. Today was the first time they have had back-to-back single-digit case numbers with the nine reported yesterday, according to Buddy Pearson, Tennessee Tech’s COVID-19 coordinator.
Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter attributed vaccinations as one reason for the decrease in cases.
“Thirty percent of our population now has received one dose,” he said. “And 87% of the 70 and above age group has had at least one dose, and most have had two. When you look at hospital numbers, they only have nine in the hospital, which is probably the lowest number since last spring. We’ve done something right and hopefully it will stay that way.”
Since Cookeville Regional Medical Center is a regional hospital, the nine patients are from many different counties. There were three new hospitalizations for Putnam County residents during the 14-day period, the same as for the 14-day period prior to the break.
Deaths due to COVID-19 are also declining. There was only one death in the period after the break versus three prior to it. The overall death rate has dropped from 12% to 11% with the recovery rate increasing to 89%.