December 17 COVID-19 update: Tennessee reports record-high 177 deaths in 24-hour period

Metro reports 1,099 new cases, third-highest increase
Posted at 8:40 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 15:40:26-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee reported 177 additional COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday -- making it the highest single-day increase of the pandemic. The department also reported 8,945 new cases.

This brings the state's total number of cases to 493,230. The statewide death toll has risen to 5,845.

There are 2,897 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases across the state. Right now, there are 68,661 active cases statewide. The percent positive for today is 21.50%, which is also an all-time high.

Thursday's increase also marks this week as the worst in terms of new cases. Tennessee's highest four days of daily new cases have all occurred this week.

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Earlier in the day, Metro Health officials reported 1,099 new cases, making it the third-highest single-day increase of the pandemic.

Today's update brings Davidson County's total number of cases to 58,939. Right now, there are 6,062 active cases, which is an all-time high.

No new confirmed or probable deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours. As of today, 404 people in Davidson County have died after a confirmed case of COVID-19. Including both confirmed and probable cases, 418 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

This week's update comes as Metro reported its highest and second-highest single-day increase in new cases earlier in the week.

Dr. Alex Jahangir said one out of 10 Nashvillians currently has this virus. He said our largest regional hospitals are turning down patients every day from other hospitals, mostly in rural areas.

"You must realize how bad our hospital situation is. It's really bad. And I believe it has the potential to get worse if we continue doing what we're doing," he said.

Tennessee hospitals began providing the Pfizer vaccine to front-line health care workers today. Nashville will receive about 16,000 doses in its initial batch.

At last week's Metro briefing, health officials outlined the city's distribution plan for the vaccine, saying front line health care workers, long-term care facilities and first responders will get vaccinated first.

Watch the full briefing below:

New cases per 100,000 people: 91.40
Seven-day percent positive of COVID-19 tests: 15.8

Available Middle Tennessee hospital beds: 12 percent
Available Middle Tennessee ICU beds: 7 percent

The MPHD COVID-19 Hotline received 277 calls on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

Total number of cases: 58,939
Cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,099

Cases by sex
Male: 28,194
Female: 30,252
Unknown: 493

Cases by age

Total active cases6,062


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.