Vanderbilt: COVID-19 hospitalizations down in metro areas, portions of Tennessee seeing increase

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Posted at 1:17 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 14:29:18-04

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SAYS TENNESSEE HAS SEEN STABLE OR DECLINING HOSPITALIZATIONS SINCE LATE-JULY, but there are signs that the trend is reversing in some regions of the state. — Vanderbilt University researchers say portions of Tennessee have seen a recent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, while some metro areas have experienced stable or decreasing numbers.

Vanderbilt said Thursday that while Tennessee has seen stable or declining hospitalizations since late-July, there are signs that the trend is reversing in some regions of the state.

Researchers have released new charts showing the evolution of COVID-19 hospitalizations as of September 2. Metro areas, including Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga, have experienced stable or declining hospitalizations. However, researchers say the Upper Cumberland, West Tennessee and East Tennessee areas have seen their hospitalized case numbers increase over the last week.

“Tennessee reached a high-water mark around 1,100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in late July, and by late August those numbers had declined to under 900,” said John Graves, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Policy and director of the Center for Health Economic Modeling at Vanderbilt.

Researchers also said that hospitalizations are a “lagging indicator” because those patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized had to have been infected 10 or more days before they were admitted.

Melissa McPheeters, research professor in the Department of Health Policy and Department of Biomedical Informatics, said that means it’s critical to watch these numbers so action can be taken to prevent hospitalizations from getting too high.

Graves said right now, the overall situation in Tennessee is stable at around 900 patients. To date, he said the state’s health care system has not been overwhelmed.