NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The number of Tennesseans hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased by more than a thousand from just a month ago, the latest data reveals.
That exploding caseload continues to put a strain on the state's hospitals, with just 164 intensive care unit beds currently available for the entire state. That's just 8 percent of capacity.
Overnight numbers show there were 2,473 patients in Tennessee hospitals with confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Dec. 1.
That compares to 1,465 patients on Nov. 1 and 903 patients on Oct. 1.
In addition to the 2,473 patients currently hospitalized with confirmed cases, there are another 271 people with possible cases of COVID-19.
The combined total of 2,744 confirmed and possible cases is up more than a thousand from a month earlier.
Health authorities are expecting a "super surge" of COVID-19 cases in the next two weeks as a result of family gatherings associated with Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
On Monday, Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced that it is deferring select non-emergency procedures in order to prepare for that anticipated explosion of cases.
MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE
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See all our coronavirus coverage here
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE
What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.