Hospitalizations, deaths still in ‘critical stage’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths remain at a “critical stage” across Tennessee, but it may take weeks for the state to see the effects of a potential post-Natal increase, the state’s top health official said on Wednesday.

Tennessee Department of Health commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey provided another update on the state’s COVID-19 situation, saying that dozens of hospitals still cannot accept transferring patients because they are “completely overwhelmed with their own patients” .

Piercey pleaded with the public to “stay safe” for the next few days, adding that if people got together for Christmas and New Year, as they did on Thanksgiving, we wouldn’t see the effects immediately.

“The next few days and weeks are going to really determine how our hospitals are going to function in the next month,” said Piercey.

For example, if people get together this week, Piercey said that we would not see the effect of a sudden post-Christmas increase until the first or second week of January. It can take two to three weeks after infection until we can see another increase in deaths.

“Remember, it takes a few days to become infected after being exposed, and then it will take between five and eight days before hospitalization and then … after staying in the hospital for a few days, that’s when you start in the ICU”, said Piercey.

The health department has been providing daily updates to COVID throughout the week as hospitals across the state reach a critical capacity point.

Piercey said on Wednesday, 32,330 Tennesseans were vaccinated in all 95 counties. She said the state is still finalizing updates to its vaccination plan and will disclose more information about who will be included in future stages of implementing vaccination in the state.

On Tuesday, Piercey said preliminary figures indicate that the state may receive 90,000 doses of vaccine a week starting next week. If all goes as planned, Tennessee will receive 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 40,000 doses of Moderna each week.

He will begin distributing the vaccine to long-term care institutions next week.

Earlier this week, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 70, which limits internal public meetings to 10 people and does not allow spectators on the K-12. Collegiate and professional sports are “subject to the rules, protocols or guidelines of their respective institutions and governing bodies”.

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What is COVID-19 (also known as the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses. Examples include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A new coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 means “coronavirus disease 2019”, which is when this coronavirus strain was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says that patients confirmed to have 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory disease with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated tremors with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At the moment, the CDC believes that symptoms may appear two days after exposure or up to 14 days.


The CDC is recommending “common sense” measures, such as:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth cover when you are around other people.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.