NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The upward trend of COVID cases in the state is clear on the Tennessee Department of Health’s website.

Dr. Todd Rice, Director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s ICU, says there’s even been a slight increase in COVID hospitalizations at his facility too.

“You know, they are having some difficulty breathing and are in the hospital with some shortness of breath and some low oxygen levels, and they need treatment for their COVID,” Rice said.

The latest data shows 914 COVID-positive patients in hospitals statewide with 124 in the ICU, but Rice says understanding how those numbers are gathered helps people understand the true risk in our community right now.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

“There are more patients that have COVID, who may not be sick enough to be in the hospital with their COVID, but they come into the hospital for something else and we’re still doing the screenings. And so, we still pick up that they’re COVID-positive. So, they’re hospitalized, and they have COVID, but they aren’t really here because they have severe COVID,” Rice explained.

Rice still encourages people to take COVID precautions, saying those steps have helped hospitals stay at manageable levels.