New data show extent of surge plans, staff shortages

The Tennessee Department of Health has now reported a total of 1,119,545 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 4,200 cases on Thursday from 15,595 new test results — a 21.1 percent positivity rate.

Of the total number of cases, 13,879 people have died — with 75 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

The number of active cases in Tennessee has increased 12.2 percent in the past two weeks, with state health officials reporting that 78,235 individuals are currently infected with the coronavirus. 

The number of patients hospitalized within the state has increased 31 percent in two weeks, with 3,846 people now being treated for illness caused by the virus — an all-time high. In terms of capacity, the state reports that 10 percent of inpatient beds and 6 percent of ICU beds remain available. Nearly 57 percent of the state's ventilator supply is still available. But a major issue hospitals continue to face is low staffing, officials said. 

So far, 2,918,552 Tennessee residents have been fully immunized against COVID, which amounts to 42.7 percent of the state's total population of about 6,910,000. More than 105,000 vaccine doses were administered during the past week, declining from the figure of the previous week but still nearly triple the demand during summer. 

A total of 6,377,932 doses have been administered across the state.

Nashville has fully immunized 52.2 percent of its total population and administered more than 763,000 doses thus far. The Davidson County population is an estimated 715,000.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a series of executive orders that will require COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests for nearly 100 million Americans. Also this week, TriStar Health has established and activated “crisis care committees” in their hospitals to guide the system through patient surges that render clinicians unable to provide the usual standard of care. 

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