Even Tennessee’s largest hospital is running into capacity issues, with more than 200 staffers out sick with COVID-19 or quarantining because of close contact.
Tennessee hit a new high for hospitalizations over the weekend. Dr. Matthew Semler, a physician in the intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center caring for COVID patients, says patients are arriving from as far away as Arkansas and southwest Virginia because so many hospitals can’t take more patients.
“We’re already in a state where the vast majority of our patients now in the intensive care unit are not coming in through our emergency department,” he says. “They’re being sent hours to be at our hospital because all of the hospitals between here and where they present to the emergency department are on diversion.”
The Nashville Post reports Vanderbilt has begun converting beds in its children’s hospital to take non-COVID adult patients. The state has built out an empty floor at Nashville General Hospital to be used for COVID patients, but right now hospitals don’t have enough doctors and nurses available to use all of their existing capacity.