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“It will completely break our hospitals” Tenn. health commissioner warns of another holiday COVID-19 surge

She asks Tennesseans to be mindful of the severity of the virus with more holidays quickly approaching.
Published: Dec. 20, 2020 at 6:54 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/WTVC) -Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey lead a media briefing Sunday afternoon to discuss concerns of hospital beds in the state.

With nearly 3,000 Tennesseans hospitalized with COVID-19 and 750 patients in the ICU following a surge after the Thanksgiving holiday, Piercey says the state has the highest rate of infections in the nation, WTVC reported.

“Tennessee infection rate is 40% higher than the national average,” Dr. Piercey said.

Piercey says the surge in cases and hospitalizations has stretched Tennessee hospitals past their limit and they are running out of options. The main issue, she reported, is staffing.

“There are no more staff members to spend money on, because they are all at the bedside.”

Dr. Piercey says hospitals are not yet at full capacity but it is a growing concern for many hospital systems around the state.

“We have now had two requests for emergency ventilator supplies in the west Tennessee area,” Dr. Piercey said.

She asks Tennesseans to be mindful of the severity of the virus with more holidays quickly approaching.

“If we have another surge after Christmas or New Years, it will completely break our hospitals.”

As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease and Control released the following data for COVID-19 cases in the state:

  • More 500,000 total cases; total 519,687
  • More than 50,000 new cases in the last seven days, 55,063
  • More than 25,000 new cases from just Thursday to Sunday, 26,457
  • Tennessee surpassed 6,000 total deaths; total 6,071
  • More than 500 new deaths in the last seven days, 530
  • TN has less than 200 open ICU beds; 199 total free beds statewide

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