NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A surge in COVID-19 cases in the Nashville area is stressing hospitals right before flu season.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the coronavirus task force sent a very stern message during their weekly news conference Thursday, pleading with residents to wear a mask and follow protocols.

The new concerns in Davidson County stem from three key metrics now listed as unsatisfactory — the transmission rate, 14-day new case trend and new cases per 100-thousand residents.

These three numbers are used to chart the city’s progress and re-opening plan and there are new concerns about these trends and their potential impact on local hospitals.

Earlier this week, Nashville hospitals came together to release a statement to warn the public if the surge continues, our healthcare systems will struggle to provide care to all patients and potentially become overwhelmed.

Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of the task force, said hospital bed capacity dropped to just 5% and with flu season right around the corner, we must stop the surge in its tracks.

“Unless we do something to curb transmission now, we will see more people die and may see our hospitals stay at a capacity that will make it hard for them to take care of other people. In fact, even as we are seeing a new wave of coronavirus, we are also starting to enter flu season a time which traditionally puts extra strain on the hospital, the combination of flu and coronavirus in our hospital may be a really bad situation,” explained Dr. Jahangir.

City leaders want to avoid activating an alternative care site as much as possible.

Metro General Hospital is still prepared to care for patients if area facilities do reach full capacity.