NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Across Tennessee, hospitals are grappling with a surge of COVID-19 patients leading to capacity concerns. This comes as doctors are pleading with people to get vaccinated to keep the healthcare infrastructure in Tennessee from becoming overwhelmed.

Seven percent of ICU beds are available in the state, as of Friday, and now a Vanderbilt doctor is warning of what the next couple of weeks could look like.

“I’m not looking forward to the next one to two weeks of COVID-19 in Tennessee,” said Dr. David Aronoff
Director of the Infectious Diseases Division at Vanderbilt.

Tennessee is reporting a 7-day average of more than 4,500 cases.

“I really hope that everyone understands that this is a pandemic that is certainly flaring up right now and there are things we can all do, to not only protect ourselves, but to protect members of our family, of our household, and our community,” said Aronoff.

On Wednesday, the state reported more than 6,538 COVID-19 cases. The highest amount of positive cases reported in Tennessee since January 16.

On Thursday, Tennessee reported 7,238 new cases, the first time the state reported 7,000+ since January 9.

“Certainly the trajectory is heading upwards we have not plateaued and it’s hard to know how high these numbers can get. We certainly hit a peak in late December early January and our concern is that we’re going to surpass that peak if we continue at the rate that we’re seeing right now,” Aronoff said.

A large part of the concern for doctors, not only at Vanderbilt but across the country – the increasing number of children infected with COVID-19.

“The reality is, is that more children are getting infected on a daily basis and the more kids who get infected the more likely it is that we will see children who become severely ill and end up having to come to the hospital for care,” said Aronoff.

Doctors say the best thing you could do to prevent a trip to the emergency room is to get vaccinated and wear a mask indoors when social distancing is not possible. Doctors also say if you are sick stay home.