NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a reality Vanderbilt infectious disease doctor William Schaffner warned we’d see this holiday season.
“We are bracing, of course, all around the country. I’m afraid that in many Thanksgiving celebrations the virus attended the party,” Schaffner says.
While families passed around Thanksgiving Day turkey, some also shared a side of COVID-19.
“We expect an increase in cases, a surge on top of the surge that’s already occurring, in about a week or two weeks after Thanksgiving,” says Schaffner.
Dr. Marshall Hall is the emergency room medical director and ER Chief at TriStar Skyline Medical Center. He says emergency rooms can still handle the number of patients needing assistance, but it’s the availability of inpatient hospital beds that’s stretched.
“We’re seeing hospitalization numbers statewide that we never really saw at the beginning of the pandemic,” Hall explained.
These concerning capacity numbers mean more stress on the hospital in different ways.
“The inpatient situation has gotten more serious and things are definitely more tighter than they were even a few weeks ago,” Dr. Hall says, “and that has some ripple effects down into the ER.”
He explains patients must wait longer than normal for a bed to become available before being admitted. What has improved is the knowledge of how to treat and care for COVID-19 patients.
Bracing for another wave involves implementing surge plans that are already in place.
“It primarily involves issues around staffing some physician staffing, primarily nursing staffing,” Hall says. “Where do you develop COVID-19 units as you fill up your first unit? Then you go to a second, and third, and fourth. You’re shifting beds around.”
Preparations that are underway now in anticipation for the next 14 days.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )