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East Tennessee hospitals adapt to climbing COVID numbers

Fort Sanders Medical Center set to postpone some elective surgeries.
Fort Sanders Medical Center to postpone some elective surgeries
Fort Sanders Medical Center to postpone some elective surgeries(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 9:37 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:38 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Fort Sanders Medical Center officials decided to postpone some non-emergency surgeries, and make changes to the layout of the facility in light of increased COVID numbers and staffing concerns.

“Due to staffing challenges and in order to focus our staff’s time and expertise where it is most needed during this very busy time, we have consolidated two patient care areas on one floor. In addition, Fort Sanders Regional is currently postponing some elective surgical procedures that require an overnight stay. Surgery schedules are being evaluated on a daily basis, and patients will be notified if their elective procedure will be postponed or rescheduled,” said Fort Sanders Spokesperson Valerie Somerville.

Somerville told WVLT News that those actions are to serve the people that need that emergency care, and asks for people’s understanding as they continue to care for both COVID and non-COVID related illnesses and injuries.

At the University of Tennessee Medical Center, data showed that on Thursday alone, 141 people were in the hospital with COVID, with the majority being unvaccinated.

“The biggest stressor is illness in staff and staff absence. we know that there are all kinds of parts of society that are having to temporarily close because of illness of a group of team members and employees,” Dr. James Shamiyeh at UTMC said.

He went on the share that unlike some businesses, hospitals need to remain open to continue to care for the sick and injured.

At UTMC, they’re reporting that 78% of the people hospitalized with COVID are not fully vaccinated.

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