A new modeling report from Vanderbilt University Medical Center finds that hospitalization rates in the state have risen since early June and are currently at their highest point in the pandemic. According to the report, “Tennessee has seen increases in hospitalized COVID-19 patients concentrated in particular regions, namely the Memphis Delta and Southeast Tennessee region that includes Chattanooga.” The report also found that the number of confirmed positive cases was 50% higher than the first week in May. 

In other state news, researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab worked with Coca-Cola bottle manufacturers to produce test tubes for COVID-19 tests. “Coke bottlers have done what no other vialing company could do—In a few short days, they have fabricated a small, ruggedized vial from a plastic preform that does not leak, is large enough to hold any swab type, and importantly, they can make millions of tubes per week,” said Luke Daum, chief scientific officer at Longhorn Vaccines & Diagnostics, which tested the tubes’ viability. 

Here’s a rundown of developments and stories related to the coronavirus from the last week:
  • The generic steroid drug dexamethasone significantly reduced deaths of very sick Covid-19 patients in a large clinical trial, University of Oxford researchers said Tuesday.
  • The Trump administration is narrowing its financial support to seven vaccine candidates and announced they expect the vaccine to be free.
  • The NIH announced four funding opportunities to support community-engaged research on virus testing among underserved and/or vulnerable populations through the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics, or RADx  program.
  • report from The New York Times details the ways that efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have given rise to other diseases that are otherwise preventable.