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Tennessee sets new record for COVID hospitalizations - with no end in sight

Hospital Hallway
Posted at 5:50 AM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 12:11:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There are now more people hospitalized in Tennessee with COVID-19 than at any other time in the pandemic, overnight data from the Tennessee Department of Health reveals.

That data shows the state's hospitals hit a stunning new record of 3,338 COVID patients, blowing past the previous peak of 3,314 set in early January, with no evidence of a peak in the exploding number of cases.

In recent weeks, Tennessee also has set new records nearly every day for critically ill COVID patients.

There are now 943 people in the state's Intensive Care Units, with 661 of them being on ventilators -- both all-time records, the data shows.

Across the Volunteer State, hospitals are facing an unprecedented crunch as a result of the highly infectious delta variant -- while dealing with a significant shortage of nursing staff as a result of the pandemic.

The month of August brought well over 150,000 new COVID cases statewide, compared to just just 6,614 reports in the month of June, state data shows.

As a result, hospitals have canceled non-urgent procedures that require overnight stays.

Medical professionals have warned that the crisis could mean that even non-COVID patients could have difficulty getting the care they need.

In the Memphis area, hospitals have warned that they be forced to begin triaging patients.

"To be clear, we may be unable to provide timely care to everyone and will have to make choices about delivering care to patients based on their probability of survival," a letter to the area's city and county mayors warned on Aug. 16th.

The latest number also includes 73 pediatric patients, 18 of whom are in ICUs and seven on ventilators.

Hospital officials have warned that Tennessee has such limited capacity for pediatric patients that the on-going surge among children could overwhelm the state's children's hospitals.

Nearly 40% of all COVID-19 cases reported last week were among children ages 0-18 years, an analysis by the Tennessee Department of Health says.