NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Flu and RSV cases are swamping hospitals across Middle Tennessee.

Patients who struggle to get into hospitals are now making their way to urgent care clinics to treat their symptoms.

“Three weeks ago we were probably 30 percent less busy than we are right now,” said Dr. Ty Babcock.

Babcock is the CEO of Complete Health Partners and said the three urgent cares he operates across Nashville and Hendersonville are starting to see their fair share of patients, particular those with the flu.

“We are really seeing an uptick over the last two to three weeks in the flu activity and a number of people coming in with flu and positive flu tests,” he said.

With hospital systems swamped with patients, Babcock said patients are starting to make their way to more urgent care clinics instead.

“It feels a lot more like flu season typically would feel; what’s weird about it is it’s October instead of December or January when we would typically see it,” he said.

RSV is hitting the state hard, but Babcock said their clinics aren’t seeing as many cases.

News 2 reached out to Vanderbilt who said their children’s hospital has seen an uncharacteristic increase in cases.

Vanderbilt said that along with an early flu season, other illnesses have resulted in a surge in their hospital admissions and ER visits.

The hospital system said since late September, they had an over 20% RSV positivity rate among hospitalized patients tested for respiratory viruses. They said their RSV positivity rates in 2018 and 2019 were below 5% for the same time period.

“I think the unknown is what’s hard,” said Babcock.

According to Babcock, all of this coupled with staff shortages are things he’s having to focus on as they continue to see more patients.

“There’s really been a shortage at all positions, and so trying to know how much do we need to hire, how much can we hire is kind of complicated as well,” he said.

As they continue to navigate this busy season, Babcock has one important piece of advice for the community.

“If you’re sick, stay home,” he said. “If you’re going to work sick, other people are going to get sick which we talked about down stream effects earlier; it has a lot of downstream effects.”

Babcock is also encouraging people to get their flu shot this year as well.

He said getting the COVID-19 vaccine is something the CDC still recommends, and said can be helpful for those who are high risk and feel comfortable getting one.