Williamson County saw another increase of COVID cases Tuesday as the state's ICU bed capacity becomes more worrisome. 

15,986 is the new overall case count for Williamson since the pandemic's start as of Tuesday, with 2,057 of those cases considered active. 

13,815 people in the county have either recovered or had their cases deemed inactive, while 114 have now died. 

131,127 negative tests have been processed thus far. 

State totals 

The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 534,019 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 4,441 cases since Monday on 16,026 new test results — a 19.6 percent positivity rate.

Of the total number of cases, 6,269 people have died — up 133 from the numbers 24 hours earlier.

The number of active cases in Tennessee has increased 107 percent in the past two weeks, with officials reporting that 79,754 individuals are currently infected with COVID — an all-time high.

The number of patients hospitalized with the disease in the state has climbed 9 percent in the past two weeks. More than 2,888 people at 114 hospitals are now being treated for confirmed cases of COVID.

In terms of capacity, the state reports that 16 percent of inpatient beds (1,863) and 9 percent of ICU beds (177) remain available. Nearly 70 percent of the state's ventilator supply is still available. With inpatient beds at a premium, hospitals are admitting only the sickest patients.

Health commissioner warns of ICU surge

Nearly half of ICU beds in Tennessee are currently occupied by COVID patients, an increase in recent days.

Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the percentage “jumped pretty substantively” just since Sunday.

“That means there aren’t ICU beds for severe heart attacks or car wrecks or strokes,” she said.

25 hospitals report full ICUs last week

At least 25 hospitals in Tennessee reported no available intensive care unit beds on average last week as the statewide health system struggles under the strain of the pandemic. 

According to federal data, of the hospitals reporting full ICUs, 16 of them were located in Eastern Tennessee. Seven hospitals in Middle Tennessee — including TriStar Summit Medical Center, TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center, TriStar Horizon Medical Center and Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital — had full ICU units last week. 

The inpatient facility data, published weekly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, presents admissions data using seven-day averages, which doesn’t account for the ebb and flow of bed admissions and discharges. 

In a statement made last week by TriStar Health on the low ICU capacity at Southern Hills Medical Center, a spokesperson said: "On a regular basis, there is a continual flow of patients admitted and discharged out of the ICU to a lower level of care. We have opened additional step-down and medical bed areas to help meet the needs of our community during this time.”

Throughout the state, patients with COVID-19 make up nearly half of all ICU admissions and 25 percent of inpatient beds. The most severely impacted region is South Central, where 71 percent of ICU beds are filled with COVID patients.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post. Also here

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