JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Ballad Health posted a photo Thursday of the inside of one of the refrigerated morgue trucks currently at its facilities.
According to Ballad Health, the photo shared is the interior of the morgue trailer at the Johnson City Medical Center.
The post said that as of Thursday, Dec. 10, the hospital’s morgue is once again full.
On Dec. 2, Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine addressed the mobile morgue in a press conference and said a second one had been ordered for the Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport.
“Our numbers in the hospitals are at all-time highs, and based on our modeling which unfortunately has proven to be very accurate, we anticipate that we could see volumes as high as 550 by the end of December,” Levine said.
Chief Administrative Officer Eric Deaton also reported that 17% of patients who are hospitalized at Ballad hospitals with COVID-19 are dying.
“That’s an unsightly thing for people to see and a very uncomfortable thing to talk about, but the reality is we don’t have the capacity for what we anticipate we will need. So we need to get some additional capacity for the storage of bodies,” Levine said.
Levine also announced Ballad Health will suspend elective surgeries starting on Monday, Dec. 7. That includes surgeries already scheduled.
As of Wednesday, Ballad Health does not plan to furlough any of its employees as it did closer to the start of the pandemic in March.
Team members were asked to support the system if they were asked to redeploy within the Ballad system. Some of that redeployment could involve using lower licensed or even unlicensed staff to support clinical teams in the hospitals.
Ballad Health continues to ask that community members do their part to curb the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )