Tennessee officials: Dozens of COVID-hit hospitals not taking transfers

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s top health official says dozens of hospitals in the state have stopped taking transfer patients because they are already overwhelmed during one of the nation’s worst recent outbreaks of COVID-19.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said hospitalizations and deaths continue to be at a “critical stage” in the state now dealing with a post-Thanksgiving surge.

Officials have pleaded with the public not to gather with other households indoors for Christmas and New Year’s and to wear a mask, which is required in public in some counties at the discretion of local officials, but GOP Gov. Bill Lee has not mandated the practice statewide.

The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 541,240, an addition of 7,221 cases, the state said on Wednesday. There have been 6,380 deaths, an increase of 111 new deaths.

The Shelby County Health Department reported 62,783 cases Wednesday, an increase of 449 cases.

There have been 826 deaths, an increase of five deaths in the last 24 hours. The deaths account for 1.3% of all cases in Shelby County.

The number of cases considered recovered is 55,325, or 88.1% There are 6,632 active cases, which accounts for 10.6%.

Daily case increases in Shelby County this week, beginning Sunday, have been: 695, 998, 893, 779, 1163, 783, 754, 510, 778 and 905.

Usage of local Acute Care and ICU beds was 91% and 95% respectively as of Tuesday. There are 573 COVID patients in the hospital.

There is also concern regarding hospital staffing especially with hospitals having medical staff in isolation and quarantine.

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