NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Metro officials announced the number of available beds in Davidson County hospitals has dropped to 5% while intensive care unit beds have 10% available.

Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force, announced the numbers during the weekly press briefing on Thursday.

“Our Middle Tennessee hospitals are sounding the warning,” said Jahangir. “Our hospital capacity in all of Middle Tennessee today is 13%. Just at the nine hospitals in Nashville, that number drops to 5%.”

Transmission rates are the highest since early July. What’s also concerning the health department is that there are now more COVID-19 patients filling Middle Tennessee hospitals.

“We continue to see our numbers move in the wrong direction,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Three key metrics are in the red for the first time. We must stop this surge in its tracks.”

The transmission rate, 14-day new case trend and new cases per 100K residents have moved into the red.

On Thursday, Metro Nashville Public Health reported 249 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths in the past 24 hours. One of the deaths was a 23-year-old woman with a pending medical history. The other two deaths were a 95-year-old woman and a 71-year-old woman, both with underlying health conditions.

“This is a deadly disease,” said Jahangir. “What people need to pay attention to is that once you are age 65 years or higher, the mortality rate jumps tremendously.”

In Davidson County, the health department reports 292 total deaths related to coronavirus.

Jahangir said the mortality rate for individuals between the age of 65 and 74 is 5%. The mortality rate increases to 13% for those individuals between the ages of 75 and 84.

“If you are 85 or older and you get this virus, you have a 15% chance of dying,” said Jahangir.

Jahangir said hospitalizations had leveled off in August, but now they are seeing a 50% increase in hospitalizations.

An alternative care site operated by the state has been set up Nashville General Hospital at Meharry should there be a need.

“That will be a place of last resort,” said Jahangir.

Not included in the increased case count is attendees of a religious concert last week. The health department said contact tracers have not found any COVID-19 cases tracked to the event at this time.

The mask mandate remains in effect for Davidson County until further notice.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infection specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, compared wearing a mask to the sacrifices made during World War 2, such as rations.

"Wearing a mask is not a sacrifice, it's an inconvenience," said Schaffner. "Wear your mask and stop whining."

Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson announced earlier Thursday his intentions to re-institute a mask mandate beginning Saturday at midnight through the end of the calendar year.

Tennessee counties with and without mask mandates

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order allowing county mayors in 89 of Tennessee's 95 counties to institute a mask mandate in their counties. This order is set to end April 28, 2021.

County Mask Mandate (yes, no)
Cheatham No
Davidson Yes
DeKalb No
Dickson No
Henry Through March 27
Hickman No
Humphreys No
Jackson No
Maury No
Montgomery Through March 19, 11:59 p.m.
Putnam No
Robertson No
Rutherford No
Sumner Through April 28
Tennessee (statewide) No
Van Buren
Williamson No
Wilson Yes

Mayor John Cooper and other officials provide an update on Nashville's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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