CEOs with Williamson Medical Center, Ascension Saint Thomas, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Maury Regional Health, Nashville General Hospital, TriStar Health and NorthCrest Health issued an open letter to Tennesseans on Nov. 24 announcing that daily cases, transmission rates and hospitalization due to coronavirus have surpassed levels seen in July. Hospitalizations have seen a 72% increase since Nov. 1, according to the letter. Additionally, health care officials are projecting a 10% increase in COVID-19 patients by the end of next week should rates stay at their current levels.
"If this trend continues, our hospital systems could soon be overwhelmed, and that would compromise the ability to serve all patients, not just those with COVID-19," the letter states. "Currently hospitals are experiencing staff shortages due to both the rising volumes of patients needing care and to the absence of medical professionals who have contracted the virus or are in quarantine because of a COVID-19 exposure. The cause of most of these exposures are coming from outside the hospital—from the rampant community spread of the virus in our state."
Hospital officials are echoing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and calling for residents to limit the number of people who gather for Thanksgiving to eight or fewer or to consider hosting a virtual celebration instead.
As of Nov. 23, active coronavirus cases in Williamson County were above 1,500.
"We must act, and act now to protect hospital capacity and to support those who have been on the front lines of this fight for months—our medical personnel, first responders and essential workers. We are Tennesseans. In the most challenging times, we have always answered the call to act. And once again, by working together, we will get through this for our neighbors, friends, and family."
Read the full letter below.