NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in rural areas is now double the number of deaths reported in urban areas, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Commissioner Tennessee Department of Health Lisa Piercey reported the "concerning" trend during Governor Lee's press briefing Wednesday.
Dr. Piercey said the change in the death rate in rural areas is especially concerning and something state health officials are keeping a close eye on.
"I want folks to internalize that those of us who just live and go about our normal everyday lives are at risk of this and need to pay close attention," Dr. Piercey said.
Some of the most common conditions putting older Tennesseans at risk are COPD, Emphysema, hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.
Unfortunately, many many Tennesseeans have those conditions and so particularly our older population with those medical conditions are at high risk," said Dr. Piercey.
She noted that the average age of infection has changed over the past month. It used to be those their 20s and 30s but the average age of infection is now 43 years old. She also reported that the average age of hospitalization is 73 years old.
"This is no longer limited to younger people or college-aged students who are out and about this is now hitting us in middle age and those of us at higher risk," Dr. Piercey explained.
She urged Tennesseans to continue to practice COVID-19 health guidelines including hand washing, wearing a face mask, especially for those considered high-risk.