Cumberland Medical Center says it is prepared to meet the health care needs of the community — both for treatment of COVID-19 and for other conditions that need hospital care.

“We remain prepared to meet the medical needs of the community and have the ability to collaborate with other Covenant Health hospitals if additional services are needed,” David Bunch, CMC chief administrative officer, told the Chronicle this week. 

“Cumberland Medical Center is open as usual to provide safe care for our patients and continues to take extra precautions to keep patients, employees and visitors safe in all of our care settings,” he added.

Newly released data shows that Cumberland Medical Center had 70 patients the week of Nov. 27, 22 of which were positive for COVID-19. There were also six patients in the intensive care unit with COVID-19 that week. 

CMC is licensed for 189 beds, which includes 12 in the ICU.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released hospital capacity data at the facility level on Monday. 

Tennessee has been releasing hospital data at the state level each day. County-level hospitalization data had provided a total of residents of a community hospitalized since the pandemic began in March, with updates on new hospitalizations in the daily report. However, that information does not include where those residents are hospitalized. 

“When data are aggregated at county or state level, the average across all facilities can mask what is happening at each local hospital,” said a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

“Some hospitals might have additional capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, while others lack that capacity, for example. Using this new data, the public will have access to hospital-specific COVID-19 numbers to understand hyper-localized community impacts.”

At this time, CMC has not implemented any reductions in services, though some hospitals in the region are restricting some elective procedures. 

Cookeville Regional Medical Center announced earlier this week it will stop all elective surgeries. 

CRMC CEO Paul Korth said, “We will continue to evaluate the situation every day, and we will resume elective surgeries as soon as we are able.”

CRMC reported 307 staffed inpatient beds in the Nov. 27 data release from HHS. Of those inpatient beds, 269 were being used by patients, with a seven-day average of 58.3 patients in the hospital testing positive for COVID-19. 

Its ICU department includes 44 beds, with an average of 30.7 in use for the week reported. Of those patients, nine were positive for COVID-19.

The Knox County Health Department last week reported the resources of area hospitals is being challenged by inpatient volumes.

In a joint statement from Covenant Health, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Tennova Healthcare, the hospitals assured the public their “facilities are open and safe to visit should individuals need medical care.”

They all urge patients not to delay care — for COVID-19 or other conditions, like heart disease, major illnesses, traumas and injuries. 

Many providers also offer telehealth services, and patients can reach out to their primary care physician to manage ongoing health concerns to prevent an illness from becoming a medical emergency.

Parkwest Medical Center, a Covenant Health facility, announced it will be postponing some elective procedures this week. They will postpone non-urgent cases that require an overnight stay in order to accommodate “unprecedented” COVID-19 patient volumes. 

“A cap on scheduled cases will be extended through the end of the year to redirect resources and reschedule procedures,” according to a statement from the hospital. 

UT Medical Center has also announced it is deferring non-essential procedures that require an inpatient stay. 

Many hospitals report they are monitoring the situation on a daily basis. 

Bunch said CMC has benefited from being a member of the Covenant Health System, with adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, medical equipment and other resources.

The hospital continues to recruit for open positions in nursing and support services. 

Bunch encourages the community to take steps to stay healthy as case numbers continue to rise in the region. 

“For the well-being of our community and staff, we would like to encourage everyone to continue following CDC guidelines and precautions to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19,” he said.

The CDC and other health officials recommend:

• Practicing physical distancing by staying 6 feet apart and limiting social gatherings

• Wearing a mask or cloth face covering

• Practicing proper hand-washing

• Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces

• Staying home if you are sick

Bunch added the CMC staff appreciates efforts from the community to thank them for their hard work during the ongoing health crisis.

“I continue to be amazed by the tremendous amount of love, compassion and support given to our staff, who are diligently working to provide essential health care during this challenging time. Thank you,” he said.


Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at

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