NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Hospital capacity concerns are growing across the state. Tennessee Department of Health says we’re seeing the same number of hospitalizations the state saw in February.
Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner, says the increase isn’t necessarily because hospitals are overrun with COVID patients, they have beds. Staffing shortages are causing capacity concerns.
1,000 Tennesseans are hospitalized statewide. A month ago, there were 200 hospitalizations. Dr. Piercey reports a 204% increase of COVID cases last week. Most of these are the delta variant, which doctors say infects mostly those who are unvaccinated.
But COVID isn’t the only virus causing hospitalizations. The TDH says RSV, a respiratory virus, and parainfluenza are affecting children.
“We’ve got enough physical space and physical bed right now, it’s the staffing we need,” Dr. Piercey said. “RSV and parainfluenza affect children, so we’ve got more children hospitalized now with RSV than we hardly ever see in the summertime.”
Piercey says RSV and parainfluenza typically spread in the winter. Last year, due to people taking precautions, there was little spread.
Nursing homes are another concern right now, according to the TDH. Most of the cases are among staff who are not vaccinated. Dr. Piercey says 50% of nursing home staff are vaccinated compared to residents, 80% who are vaccinated.
TDH says there has been an uptick in vaccinations. There was a 22% increase in vaccinations last week.