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Tennessee surpasses 2,000 mark in COVID-19 hospitalizations

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Posted at 5:38 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 06:38:41-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee hit another grim milestone overnight in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing the 2,000 mark in hospitalizations for the first time, the latest data shows.

There are now 2,003 patients in Tennessee hospitals with confirmed cases of the coronavirus, up more than a third since the beginning of the month.

In addition, the data shows there are another 233 people hospitalized with possible cases of the coronavirus, awaiting confirmation.

Statewide, there are just 222 intensive care unit beds still available and 1,642 floor beds still available, although some facilities have already reached capacity.

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Tennessee COVID-19 hospital resource tracker as of Nov. 18, 2020

On Wednesday, the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in West Tennessee announced that it would no longer be able to accept transfer patients due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 patients.

The Jackson Sun reported that the hospital had reached a census of 573 patients, nearing its maximum 642-bed capacity.

JMCGH's "critical advisory" means that it can't even accept transfers between from the satellite hospitals it normally serves, the newspaper said.

"It's a sobering day," West Tennessee Healthcare CEO James Ross said.

In fact, the strain on the state's hospitals is expected to grow even more intense in the coming days and weeks as Tennessee experiences the sharpest increase yet in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

As of Wednesday, Tennessee had already reported 64,529 new confirmed cases for the month of November, just shy of the record 64,533 cases for the entire month of October.

At this pace, the Volunteer State could report an astounding 110,000 new cases by the end of the month.

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New COVID-19 cases by month

MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE

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:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • 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.

Prevention

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.