NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Midstate hospitals are growing concerned as COVID-19 cases continue to rise along with hospitalizations.

“My grandfather was a gentle giant,” Amanda Moore who lost her grandfather to the virus said.

To everyone he knew, Amanda Moore’s grandfather was known as “Slim.”

In mid-September, he tested positive for COVID-19. Still to this day, the Lawrence County family doesn’t know how he got it.

“Other than going to the grocery, which he wore gloves and a mask when he went and going to get food from a takeout restaurant, he didn't really get out that much,” Moore said.

After getting infected with the virus, Moore’s grandfather started to get very sick. He was taken to the hospital and a few days later he died.

“We are approaching our limits,” Dr. Wright Pinson, Deputy CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said.

Vanderbilt along with other health care organizations issued a joint statement on Tuesday.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Tennessee is rising. In the 13 counties that comprise the Nashville Metropolitan Area, new cases have increased 50% over the last 2 weeks. We strongly urge everyone in Middle Tennessee, and all Tennesseans, to remain vigilant in their efforts to limit the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands and staying socially distant – including not participating in large gatherings.

Over the same 2-week period, hospitals in the Nashville area have experienced a 40% increase in patients admitted for COVID-19. Unless we act now to curb the transmission rates in Middle Tennessee, we expect this trend to continue. A major surge of new COVID-19 cases could threaten our ability to serve patients with many diagnoses requiring hospitalization.

As fall brings cooler temperatures and more indoor activities, the risk of transmitting the virus increases. The timing of this new wave of COVID-19 cases in our area coincides with the annual flu season, which adds yet more strain on our hospitals and more pressure to local businesses. We must do everything we can to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and safeguard the reopening of our economy.

The best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is to wear a face mask, wash your hands, and social distance, which includes not gathering in large groups. We also encourage everyone over six-months old to get a flu vaccine this year to protect your health and the health of those around you.

Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and the flu and protect our hospitals and our local economy.

“It's time for people to be more disciplined about doing the things we know will keep the transmission down,” Dr. Pinson said.

That means social distancing, staying out of large groups, and wearing a mask. It’s a message Moore said needs to be taken seriously.

"Even though you don't want to wear it, even though it's uncomfortable, you're protecting someone else's father or grandfather or grandmother,” Moore said.

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