Hospitals Brace For Increase In COVID Cases

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – The sudden spike in Coronavirus hospitalizations came as a surprise to medical experts, who have noticed a pattern worldwide:

First, the number of cases increase, followed by hospitalizations and then deaths.

A primary concern for medical experts is the possibility of hospital systems being overwhelmed by a sudden surge in cases – and that a potential surge might already be too late to stop.

Robbie Tester, Senior Director of Emergency Management at Erlanger Medical Center, says that the hospital is making the possibility of a surge a daily conversation with medical staff.

“From a hospitalization perspective, I think, you know, we’re concerned with the potential for a surge. What we’re seeing in day to day operations right now we’re staying pretty consistent with our numbers. Again they’re fluctuating a little bit – not to the point of concern at this point. And we’re managing as we have really since March with our COVID in-patients. Obviously we’re having daily conversations here and with our other health system partners about what if the hospitalizations do increase,” says Robbie Tester.

Jay Sizemore, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Erlanger, says that medical staff are remaining vigilant with following CDC guidelines and keeping COVID patients separated from everyone else.

“We continue to employ the same strategies really that we’ve used all along as the pandemic has moved along. We continue to cohort our patients into areas of the hospital where they’re apart from other patients. So we have both an ICU and a floor component to that. We continue to implement all of the PPE measures that are recommended,” says Jay Sizemore.

Right now, Hamilton County has hit five of the seven indicators that would turn the county purple on the state’s color-coded advisory map.

However, Erlanger remains optimistic that the hospital is prepared for a surge in patients.

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