This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.
SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Due to climbing COVID-19 case counts across the state, Sumner Regional Medical Center has reached capacity.
Hospital officials told News 2 it is diverting patients with the virus to other hospitals. Tennessee Hospital Association President and CEO Wendy Long says this is commonly because of not only lack of ICU beds, but staffing.
“A hospitals capacity, most hospitals can find a location to put another bed, but that location isn’t useful without staffing,” Long said. “As your positivity rate increases in the community, the people who work in hospitals are out there in communities and they’re being exposed as well.”
Long said the state is well above the peak established back in August. COVID-19 cases are growing at an alarming rate, therefore hospitalizations are also increasing.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase throughout the past month, month and a half. And we’re seeing right now about an eight to ten percent increase every week. Week over week,” Long said.
But adding to the problems? The impending flu season and holiday season.
“If you were to layer on top of what we’re experiencing today what normally happens in flu season, because we see hospitalizations go up in flu season, we will have capacity issues everywhere in the state,” Long said. “We’re kind of seeing a shift from cases occurring at these great big events, to the disease being spread among family members and social gatherings in people’s houses and this is the time of year for all that to happen.”
Long said Sumner Regional will not be alone with having to divert patients.
“There are many hospitals right now that are just on a day to day basis having to evaluate if they’ve got the capacity to take a new patient,” Long said.
But as we start to see this spike ahead of the flu and holiday seasons, Long said she is fearful for what’s to come over the next few weeks.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Most patients with COVID-19 have a mild respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Tennessee Department of Health strongly encourages Tennesseans to wash your hands often with soap and water and to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
The CDC recommends that organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States.
High-risk individuals are defined as adults over 60 years old or people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions such as: Heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease.
The Tennessee Department of Health offers a COVID-19 Public Information Line at 877-857-2945, with information available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time.