NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Alarming but not unexpected, that’s how doctors are describing the latest COVID-19 surge in Tennessee, led by the omicron variant.
“The situation in Tennessee is alarming but not unexpected — we’re seeing trends here comparable to what we’re seeing really all over the country,” said Dr. Loren Lipworth, an Epidemiologist with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The Tennessee Department of Health decided to end its daily COVID case reporting. But according to data from the CDC, over the weekend Tennessee surpassed its peak in cases with over 19,500 and it’s likely to do so again.
“The omicron case numbers are really skyrocketing and that seems to be moving kind of to the South and Midwest a little more,” Lipworth said.
Data shows about 1 in 350 Tennesseans testing positive for COVID, but the true number is likely higher.
“There’s a lot of COVID out there and you know we have to remember that the numbers of cases that we’re seeing reported are probably an underestimate of the true COVID cases circulating in the community, a lot of people are testing at home using rapid test and those are not always reported to the state,” Lipworth said.
Just 51% of the state is fully vaccinated with concerns that Tennessee hospitals could become overwhelmed.
“We are going to see a higher number of hospitalizations in our communities just by the sheer fact that we’re seeing so many cases and 30, 40, 50 percent may not be vaccinated and those are the people that are really high risk for severe disease with omicron.”
Doctors also say they’re keeping a close eye on pediatric COVID infections resulting in hospitalizations, currently, there are 64 kids in hospitals.