Hospitals nearing capacity by both pediatric patients and adults
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Health Department reports 195 inpatients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Hamilton County hospitals.
With the number of active cases and hospitalizations continuing to rise, hospitals across the state are seeing an influx of patients on both the pediatric side and the adult side, causing capacity issues.
“The vast majority of pediatric hospitals are not Covid. Yes, our covid pediatric hospitalizations are going up but that is not what is driving those pediatric hospitalizations. But our adult hospitalizations are continuing to go up quite a bit. A lot of the capacity concerns in adult hospitals are because of covid,” says Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Department of Health.
Though the numbers have not yet reached those from the winter surge. some hospitals near or at capacity are requesting the assistance of the national guard, especially when they are dealing with detrimental staff shortages.
“Essentials when hospitals have checked all the boxes of doing everything they can then we can augment their staffing with the guard. As opposed to the winter, many more hospitals are nearing that point now than they did in December or January. I do think you will see more guardsmen in the hospitals than when you did back in the winter,” says Dr. Piercey.
Some physicians, like Dr. Piercey, are asking the public to avoid the emergency room— unless it is a true emergency.
Patients should also be aware that a trip to the Emergency Department may result in longer wait times than normal.
“You are very likely to experience delays if you go to a hospital right now. If you don’t have a true medical emergency please do not go to the ER. Go to a level of care where you can be evaluated and discharged if you don’t have a true medical emergency,” says Dr. Piercey.
The state health department also announced that a third booster shot has been approved for Pfizer and Moderna, but only certain persons are eligible. In addition, you must wait at least 28 days after your second dose and fit certain criteria.