‘It’s going to get worse’: Health commissioner and doctors warn of rising COVID-19 cases

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee remains one of the most infectious states when it comes to COVID-19 and signs are pointing to things getting worse soon.

“I’m fairly certain it’s going to get worse,” Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health Lisa Piercey said.

Doctors are trying to sound the alarm in hopes that Tennesseans won’t let their guard down against the coronavirus. It’s been on the radar for the Department of Health for several days.

“What I don’t know is how high the next surge will be,” Piercey said in front of the House Health Committee.

Two Tennessee doctors are joining the chorus of federal leaders, including the CDC and President Joe Biden, in warning of what’s to come if there’s no vigilance against the virus.

“Very recently, disease activity is starting to increase in the terms of the number of new cases that we’re diagnosing across the United States as well as our home state in Tennessee,” said Dr. David Aronoff, Director of Division of Infectious Disease.

According to health department data, 21% of Tennesseans have started the vaccination process.

Dr. Marshall Hall, ER Medical Director at TriStar Skyline Medical Center said, “Unfortunately, our hospital specifically we’ve seen a doubling in our inpatient volume over the past two weeks or so.”

While vaccinations are helping, doctors say people who aren’t taking proper precautions against COVID-19 are working against progress.

“We aren’t through the pandemic yet. Especially for those patients who are not vaccinated. You don’t yet fully have protection against COVID,” Hall said. “And COVID is still out in the community, it’s still fairly widespread. And we can’t let our guard down yet.”

However Dr. Piercey says a dramatic rise in new cases is possible.

“Yes I’m concerned, statistically I don’t think it will be as bad as it has been just because of the numbers that we know are already immune,” Piercey said.

Doctors are also warning Tennessee could see a rise in deaths over the next two to three weeks. They’re asking the public to keep wearing a mask and follow CDC guidelines.

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