NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The chief medical officer of a Tennessee medical center says the state is running out of hospital beds as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
Sumner Regional Medical Center shared a Facebook post from Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Geoff Lifferth who said this past week has been one of the most exhausting and disheartening of his career.
“No beds. There are no beds,” wrote Dr. Lifferth. “In Middle Tennessee right now, it is impossible to find an empty, staffed ICU, ER, or med/surg bed.”
He said hospitals have seen a 1,000% increase in COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Tennessee over the past six weeks.
"The delta variant has burned through us with a ferocity that’s hard to describe. Six weeks ago, there were 200 COVID patients in hospitals in Tennessee. Today there are 2,000. A 1,000% increase. In six weeks. It has overwhelmed tired doctors, nurses, and health care systems that were already stretched thin," the post stated in part.
Dr. Lifferth went on to encourage those eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect themselves from serious illness from the coronavirus.
“The vaccines? They’re good. No, they’re not perfect. And yes, we are seeing more breakthrough infections with the delta variant. But there’s a reason 96% of physicians got it - the risk/benefit analysis overwhelmingly favors the vaccines. Get one,” he wrote.
More than 5,500 Tennesseans have tested positive for the virus since Wednesday. The last time the state saw a new case count higher than that was on January 16. More than 6,900 people tested positive that day.
More than 2,000 people are battling the virus right now in hospitals across the state, which is causing hospitals to run out of available beds. Currently, 7% of ICU beds and 10% of floor beds are available in Tennessee.
“There’s been a lot of talk about personal freedoms, and mandates, and government overreach, and such. And, someday when the sun is shining again, we can sit down and have some interesting conversations about all that. I might even agree with you on some of those points. But I can’t do that today. Not today. Because there are no beds,” Dr. Lifferth concluded.
This story was originally published by Rebekah Hammonds at WTVF.