Health care leaders are urging Tennesseans to remain vigilant in efforts to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus through the state.
Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Tennova Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Medical Center issued a joint statement earlier this week warning of the impact of new COVID-19 cases in the region.
“A major surge of new cases in our region could negatively impact the ability of area hospitals to best serve patients who have diagnoses that require hospital care, and the risk of transmitting the virus is likely to increase as people spend more time indoors with cooler temperatures,” the statement reads.
Tennessee reported 1,254 patients were currently hospitalized across the state, down 117 patients from the day before; but the state also saw 34 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Tennesseans to die from the virus to 3,241.
In Cumberland County, there have been 75 hospitalizations since mid-March when the health crisis began. That number has increased from 66 last Wednesday.
There have been 27 deaths in Cumberland County, an increase of 3 in the past week.
Tennessee recorded a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases last Friday, with 3,600 positive cases reported. There were 2,446 new cases on Wednesday. Since March, Tennessee has had 254,220 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“The higher number of COVID-19 patients is still being managed safely by local hospitals, but a further surge could mean that the volume of elective procedures may be affected,” the statement says.
Cumberland County had 170 active cases on Wednesday, an increase of 7 active cases. The county reported 28 new cases, with 115 new cases since Oct. 22.
The hospital groups caution that medical providers are also preparing for the annual flu season, which can further strain health care resources. They recommend everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine.
They also remind everyone to take steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community:
•Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart and limit social gatherings
•Wear cloth face coverings
•Practice proper hand washing
•Clean and sanitize surfaces
•Stay home if you are sick
They also urge patients to protect their overall health by continuing to receive routine screenings and physician check-ups.
“By working together and following the precautions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the flu, we’ll keep hospital space free so the medical teams can care for all those who need hospitalization for situations like heart disease, surgery, traumas and injuries and other major illnesses,” the statement continues. “This also will help keep businesses open and strong and their employees and customers healthy.”