NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A report by Vanderbilt University says the majority of Tennessee's new reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are now in areas outside of the Nashville and Memphis metro areas.
The report released Monday says that the outbreak in Tennessee began concentrated in large urban areas but has moved into more rural communities with fewer health care resources.
"As this disease moves increasingly into smaller metro and rural areas, our concern is there are fewer resources available for those people in those areas," said researcher Melissa McPheeters
It states there are high overall numbers of new reported cases, so it doesn't necessarily mean large metros are seeing fewer cases than earlier in the pandemic.
Researchers wrote that cases and hospitalizations appear to be stable in large urban areas, while many small metro areas continue to see growth. One reason they're investigating for the stabilization in metro areas: mask mandates.
"That’s one of the areas we are doing further studies on, but we would expect, that to the degree populations can practice good masking, social distancing, they’re going to do a better job of putting that spread down," McPheeters said.