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Sumner Regional on COVID-19 diversion as state hits record hospitalizations

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 21:44:25-05

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some medical facilities in Tennessee are strained as we reach record COVID-19 hospitalizations.

As of Tuesday, a total of 1,634 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized with more than 200 on ventilators. Middle Tennessee ICU capacity has dipped to 9%. There are only 242 ICU beds available across the state, and not all of them are equipped for COVID-19 patients.

"We’re in an unfortunate situation right now in Middle Tennessee where my hospital, and most hospitals, are basically at capacity," Dr. Geoff Lifferth said.

According to Dr. Lifferth, Sumner Regional Medical Center has been on COVID-19 diversion. "...we don’t have the capacity to take care of these patients anymore."

When that happens, EMS workers are told to take COVID-19 patients to other hospitals with open beds. "We can’t safely take care of them, we don’t have the capacity to take care of them."

He said the last time they doubled up rooms was probably 30 years ago until now. "With healthcare systems getting at capacity, it’s really a big deal for the hospitals and your community to take care of everyone’s medical needs."

Some experts have also voiced concern about the ‘twindemic,’ when flu season collides with COVID-19. Dr. Lifferth said he hopes COVID-19 cases decrease before that happens. "It’s more contagious than the seasonal flu, and it’s definitely more deadly than the seasonal flu."

In the meantime, he wants to encourage people to wash hands, wear masks, and social distance as we patiently wait for a vaccine. "It might take many months to roll that out, so next month or two be vigilant, don’t let your guard down," Dr. Lifferth said.

For perspective, as of Nov. 9, Vanderbilt University Medical Center facilities were treating 66 COVID-19 patients. Maury Regional Medical Center has 59 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, and Williamson Medical Center has 22.