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Friday, December 8, 2023

COVID-19 and Tipton County


Masks: Mandate in schools with option to opt-out


Tipton County Schools: In-person, five days per week; mask mandate with option to opt-out

Tipton Rosemark Academy: In-person, five days per week; mask mandate per SCHD

Dyersburg State Community College: In-person classes; mask mandate

Business, social restrictions: None

🗞 Headlines and information

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last update and in that time we have hit the peak and are starting to see a downward trend with most of the metrics. The big thing we’re focusing on is with schools: positive COVID cases, the mask opt-out, absences, etc. There are also more data visualizations if you’re into looking at charts and graphs.

How bad is COVID in our schools?

Since the school year began six weeks ago, more than 750 students and staff in Tipton County Schools have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tennessee Department of Health tracks cases in those aged 5-18 as well as in 10-year age groups.

In the last two weeks there have been 297 cases of COVID diagnosed in the 5-18 age group in Tipton County (which is more than just the public school district).  For the last three months, the 11-20 and 21-30 age groups have been the most diagnosed with COVID with 437 and 436 cases respectively. (The age group with the fewest cases is 81+ – there have only been 22 cases in this range since July 1.)

With Tuesday’s data, there were 248 active cases in the 5-18 age group, the record high being set on Aug. 31 when there were 343 active cases.

The previous record was 139, set last Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk about the mask mandate and the opt-outs. (I know, I know.)

The mandate originally went into effect on Monday, Aug. 16 and  that afternoon Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order allowing Tennessee parents to submit a letter opting out of mandates.

In Tipton County Schools, 18.8 percent of students – or 1,916 of the 10,197 students enrolled – have opted out of wearing masks.

The district has provided The Leader with data showing the percentage and number of students who’ve opted out at each school.


At 28.4 percent, Atoka Elementary has the highest percentage of students who’ve opted out. Munford Middle (26.8), Brighton Elementary (22.6), Drummonds Elementary (21.6) and Brighton Middle (20.4) round out the top five. Covington Integrated Arts Academy had only 8 of its 520 students – 1.5 percent – opt out.

What about positive COVID cases?

Though Atoka Elementary leads in the percentage of opt-outs, it does not lead in percentage of total cases.

As correlated with the data showing a higher number of cases in the 11-20 age group, the middle and high schools have seen more positive cases.

Munford High School has seen 11.3 percent of its students positive for COVID. Covington has seen 10.3, Munford Middle 10.2, Austin Peay Elementary 9.02, and Crestview Middle 7.5 percent. Atoka Elementary is last on the list with only 2.5 percent positive.

What about absences, though?

Atoka Elementary also comes in last when comparing average absence rates this school year with a 10.8 percent average.

The Alternative Learning Center/Teen Learning Center, with 56 students, leads the district in average absences (27.2). Crestview Middle has seen 20.6 percent absent, Munford Middle 17.3 percent, Austin Peay Elementary 17.2 percent, and Crestview Elementary 16.8 percent.

What are we not seeing with school data?

While it’s easy to record the number of opt-out letters, total cases, and absences per day, it’s more difficult to record the number of students wearing masks in their classrooms, the number of students and staff who’ve been positive and haven’t been tested, where positive students have come in contact with the person who infected them, and how schools are handling contact tracing.

Things are starting to slow, thankfully.

Though the Delta variant has caused record numbers of active cases in Tipton County, experts say we have past the variant’s peak.

The data showed the numbers are on a downward trend in nearly every metric.

Tennessee currently leads the nation in cases per capita and all-time infections. The state has recorded an average of 8,400 cases per day and 45 deaths and record single-day case increases.

Tipton County broke 10,000 total COVID infections on Sept. 6 and is currently sitting at 10,450.

 Active cases Wednesday were 529, after hitting record highs over Labor Day weekend, which is the lowest number since Aug. 19.

The weekly positivity rate decreased from 30.36 percent to 28.48 with last week’s data, but cases per week went up two weeks in a row from 342 to 382 to 425. The highest day-over-day increase was 107 on Sept. 10.

Tipton County is reporting an average of 70.8 cases per day.

Reported deaths increased by three last week to 115 total. Experts believe the reported death total to increase in the weeks following the recent peak.

Hospital volume is still high, but COVID hospitalizations at Baptist-Tipton are decreasing. The hospitals averaged 12 patients on the Med-Surg floor and 2 in ICU. There were at least three Tipton County children hospitalized last week, one of them in critical condition at LeBonheur.

There are 31.1 percent of Tipton Countians fully vaccinated. Second doses rose by 3.4 percent over the last two weeks with the first doses increasing by 6.1 percent.

This data is collected and provided to help inform your choices as we live with the COVID-19 pandemic. We'd love it if you would support local journalism through the purchase of a subscription.

📈 Cases

Since January 2020, at least 1 in 6 people who live in Tipton County have been infected, and at least 1 in 536 people have died. Recently active cases have been the highest since the pandemic began.

Number of cases: 10,414
Five-day positivity rate: 29.9%
Active cases: 625
Seven-day average new cases: 54 (14-day change: -20%)

🟤 Cases per capita: 87/100K
Risk Level: Severe
Ranked 76th of Tennessee’s 95 counties

Deaths: 115 (+4)
County fatality rate: 1.10%

Total tests processed: 70,885
PCR Positive tests: 9,674
Inactive: 8,608
Overall positivity rate: 11.6%

Source: Tennessee Dept. of Health COVID-19 Data Dashboard and UT COVID-19 Dashboard

💉 Vaccinations

One dose: 22,522, 36.7%
Fully vaccinated: 19,071, 31.1%

Vaccination in Tipton Co.

Want to get vaccinated?

🖱 Register online for an appointment

📱 Call the Tipton County Health Department at 901-476-0235 or 866-442-5301 for more information on scheduling your vaccination.

Vaccines are also available at most medical providers and pharmacies in Tipton County.

Source: Tennessee Dept. of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Data

⚠️ Risk & Transmission

🟤 Overall risk: Severe

🟤 BSPH Risk Zone: Maroon (87/100K)
Yesterday: 159/100K
14-Day change: +20%

Neighboring Counties
Shelby County: 79/100K
Fayette County: 70/100K
Haywood County: 95/100K
Lauderdale County: 98/100K

🟤 TN BSPH Risk Zone: Maroon (101/100K)
Ranked: 1st in the nation
Yesterday: 160/100K
14-Day change: +2%

🟢 Mean Transmission Rate Zone: Green (.96) The green zone is the second lowest of five zones
Last week: 1.07

Source: Centers for Disease Control, New York Times COVID-19 Tracker

🍎 Schools

Active cases in school-age children (5-18): 248 
14-day change: -27.7%
Cumulative cases in ages 5-18: 1,801

Week ending Sept. 10, 2021
Data reported by the Tipton County Schools district 

New cases in students and staff: 106
TCS 7-day average absence rate: 12.7% (-34.54% change)
See Dashboard for school-by-school breakdown 

TCS mask opt-out: 15% 

Source: Tipton County Schools

🏨 Long-term Care Facilities

Active confirmed cases for the week ending Sept. 10, 2021:

AHC Covington Care 🟢

Bert Johnston Ave., Covington
Residents: 1
Staff: 6
Total residents: 70

Parkway Cove 🟢

Bert Johnston Ave., Covington
Residents: 0
Resident deaths: 0
Staff: 4 
Total residents: 18

Magnolia Creek 🟢

Hwy. 51, Covington
Residents: 1
Resident deaths: 0
Staff: 5
Total residents: 105

(Updates each Friday)
Source: Tennessee Dept. of Health Long-Term Care Facility Data

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