NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s a coronavirus roller coaster ride none of us bought tickets for.
Nashville has seen a steady incline, met with a sharp fall and now, another climb.
COVID-19 metrics in Davidson County are trending in the wrong direction. The most concerning trend for area doctors and the state health department are new Coronavirus hospitalizations.
“That, in itself, is a reflection that people are getting together, and the virus is finding a way to hop from person to person,” said Dr. David Aronoff, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at VUMC.
Ascension St. Thomas, Tristar Health, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt Health issued a joint statement on COVID-19 Tuesday saying the number of active COVID-19 cases in Tennessee is rising with new cases increasing 50% over the last two weeks in metro Nashville.
Testing is on the rise as well; Davidson County’s testing capacity sits at nearly 34,000 tests per week.
“We look at a lot of different metrics that tell us how active COVID-19 is in our community and unfortunately you can pick a metric and its getting worse,” Dr. Aronoff said.
Our transmission rate is what worries Dr. Aronoff most. It should be at one — instead, it’s at 1.13, meaning those infected are likely to pass the virus onto more than one person. In this case, 1.13 persons.
New cases per 100,000 people should be less than 10, it’s at 26.9.
“That’s again, a reflection of the fact we are diagnosing more cases day over day which is not the direction we want to be headed,” Dr. Aronoff said.
What’s worse? Area hospitals said they’ve experienced a 40% increase in patients admitted for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
Over the past few weeks, TriStar Health facilities have seen an increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
“We have bed capacity, staffing, supplies and equipment we need at this time,” wrote a spokesperson for the HCA Healthcare, that’s TriStar’s parent company.
In addition, News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health who responded saying this:
We have been in close communication with hospitals across the state and share the concern regarding the increase in hospitalizations in Tennessee. There are actions every Tennessean can take to reverse this concerning trend. It is critical that everyone wear masks in public. It is essential that everyone who has symptoms stay home and that cases stay home for at least 10 days in isolation. Those who have been exposed should stay home for 14 days to prevent asymptomatic spread. We need individuals, businesses and schools to work with local health departments and cooperate with us in contact tracing.
“The more we can continue to do our individual parts to slow this disease down the better our winter will be, and the more lives we will save,” Dr. Aronoff added.
While individual and community actions will be what stop increasing hospitalizations, the state is also working closely with hospitals in managing this surge. Hospitals continue to manage their own volume, and in some cases have had to stop some elective admissions and procedures or alter schedules. We know hospitals manage their capacity needs better than one-size-fits-all state mandates on their business actions. We have also worked with nursing homes across the state to establish eight COVID-19 specific nursing homes with very high quality standards to be able to accept from hospitals COVID-19 positive patients who are ready for that level of care or to be able to cohort and stop infections in other nursing homes. The state also initiated $51M in available staffing assistance grants to hospitals beginning in early September to support additional staffing needs at hospitals, as this has been the greatest challenge to hospital capacity.
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. It’s also encouraged everyone over 6 months old to get a flu vaccine this year to protect your health and the health of those around you.