As of Thursday, Maury Regional Health is currently treating 93 COVID-19 patients, nearly reaching the medical center's record high number of COVID-19 inpatients of 102 set on Dec. 28, 2020.
Of those 93 patients, 28 of them are being treated in the Maury Regional's critical care unit, with more than 90 percent of all COVID-19 patients being unvaccinated, a trend seen at Williamson Medical Center and other hospitals.
"We are experiencing an influx of critically ill COVID patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated” said Martin Chaney, chief medical officer for Maury Regional.
“We also continue to see an increase in patients in our urgent care facilities and emergency rooms. When you look at local, regional and state trends, we can only expect these numbers to increase in the coming days.”
Over the past 14 days, Maury Regional has averaged 96.9 new cases of COVID-19 per day, an increase of 69 percent when compared to the previous 14 days.
The number of patients being hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased dramatically not just in Maury County, but across the state as well. As of Wednesday, there were 3,501 people hospitalized for COVID-19 statewide, 968 of them being treated in critical care units.
Compared to six weeks ago, there were only 580 people hospitalized for COVID-19 statewide, an increase of more than 500 percent.
"Health care systems across Tennessee are feeling the strain of increased hospitalizations; we have nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and others who are working long hours and extra shifts to care for our patients," said Maury Regional CEO Alan Watson.
"I am immensely proud of our care teams at Maury Regional Health, but it is taking a toll on them physically and emotionally. They are holding the hands of scared patients about to be placed on a ventilator and consoling families as they lose a loved one. They are heroes, but they need the help of our community. Please get vaccinated and, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended, wear a mask in public indoor spaces regardless of your vaccination status.”
While breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are extremely rare, with an internal document from the CDC suggesting the chances being less than 0.1 percent, such cases have been documented among the vaccinated.
Nevertheless, those who experience a rare breakthrough case after having been vaccinated are far less likely than the unvaccinated to become hospitalized or die.
According to the CDC, just under 6,700 out of 164 million vaccinated Americans have become sick enough from COVID-19 to be hospitalized, amounting to a breakthrough hospitalization rate of just over 0.003 percent. Even less breakthrough cases have resulted in death, with just 1,263 vaccinated Americans dying from COVID-19 for a death rate of .0008 percent among the vaccinated.
“As a community, we cannot continue to ignore this virus, it is no longer attacking only the elderly and frail; we are seeing younger, more healthy patients hospitalized,” Chaney said.
“Until we can slow the transmission of this virus through vaccination, masking and social distancing, we will continue to see it mutate, which may result in a vaccine that was initially 99 percent effective in reducing hospitalizations being far less effective on newer variants.”