Hamblen County's number of Active COVID-19 cases dropped by 203 in the span of 24 hours from 300 to 97.
The dramatic decrease was not due to a miracle cure, vaccine or reporting error.
The drop was chiefly attributable to a change in the state's methodology.
Previously people with COVID-19 were counted as active for 21 days past the onset of symptoms. Now, after 14 days, the state moves the patient from the active category to the newly created inactive/recovered category.
The Tennessee Department of Health says the new method is an improvement and reflects evolving knowledge on the pandemic.
The new numbers also reflect a correction in county of residence for some cases.
“We’re pleased to be adding new reports to help support rapid public health actions in Tennessee communities,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We also want to promote data transparency and help Tennesseans understand the reason case counts for some counties will change as we correct information based on their addresses.”
Reporting Inactive/Recovered Cases Starting Sept. 3, TDH case count reports will include figures for “Inactive/Recovered” cases and will no longer include data for “Recovered” cases.
“Inactive/Recovered” cases will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date).
This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days, the state said.
Previously, TDH considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.
TDH is also correcting discrepancies in county location for about 1,700 cases, as the county to which they were originally assigned does not correspond correctly to their street addresses. This can occur in laboratory reports because some lab systems automatically assign county location based on the patient’s ZIP code, which may be incorrect if the ZIP code straddles county lines.