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Tennessee hits new hospitalization record for COVID-19; 1,259 now in hospital with virus

Posted at 6:23 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 08:15:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The latest numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health reveal Tennessee hit another staggering record overnight for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The latest overnight numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health show there are now 1,259 people in Tennessee hospitals with confirmed cases of the virus. That's up 44 percent from the first of the month when there were just 873 hospitalized patients.

In addition to the 1,259 confirmed cases, there are another 165 hospital patients with possible cases of COVID-19, awaiting confirmation.

Hospital capacity appears to be holding steady statewide, although some facilities are experiencing greater strain than others. There are 249 ICU beds available statewide, about 12% of capacity. Last week, that number dropped to 10%.

The record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is also putting a strain on rural hospitals. Maury Regional Medical Center hit its all-time record on Monday. Dr. Martin Chaney, Chief Medical Officer, said they’re treating between 50 and 53 patients for COVID-19.

Dr. Chaney said they have around 14 patients in the ICU, and their capacity is currently 26.

"We are looking at expanding medical beds within our hospital, and of course we will always transfer patients if another hospital has the capacity to care for them," Dr. Chaney told reporter Alexandra Koehn.

Tennessee also reported 3,317 new cases on Monday, its highest daily increase.

Gov. Bill Lee is expected to extend an executive order that allows the majority of Tennessee’s counties the option to require face coverings in public. Gillum Ferguson, Lee’s spokesman, confirmed Monday the executive order will be extended until the end of the year.

The order, which applies to 89 out of the state’s 95 counties, was scheduled to expire at the end of the month. Lee has resisted calls to implement a statewide mask mandate.

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Tennessee sets new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations as pandemic grows