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Rising COVID-19 cases in Memphis healthcare system causing statewide concern

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of the Mid-South’s largest healthcare systems is reporting record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Tennessee state-wide data reporting shows the state has now surpassed the previous January hospitalization record.

The same is happening in West Tennessee. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system says they have hundreds of COVID-19 patients filling up their hospital beds.

It’s a milestone Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare hospital officials hoped to never reach. Methodist Le Bonheur reached a record high of 322 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across its system.

“Just what’s your reaction to that? Uh, I feel it. I feel it in our organization across our system. Our beds are full. We’re at capacity,” said Linda Rosenblatt, the clinical director and nursing manager on the COVID-19 unit at Methodist Germantown.

She says her patients are getting younger, and sometimes multiple family members are hospitalized at the same time.

“I’ve had a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter all at the same time with varying stages of illness,” said Rosenblatt.

Out of the 322 hospitalizations across the system, 26 percent are in the ICU. The hospital is also seeing a five-fold increase in COVID-19 deaths among patients age 40 and younger.

The largest increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Rosenblatt says she’s becoming increasingly worried about the care of patients without COVID care near.

Their emergency rooms are full with longer waits for a hospital bed.

“What you hear and what you see on television is actually very true,” said Rosenblatt. “I do encourage people to get vaccinated. Let’s get those numbers up. Let’s work toward getting our younger population vaccinated as well.”

Hospital officials say about 12 percent of those hospitalized with COVID are fully vaccinated, most with underlying conditions and compromised immune systems.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is offering more locations to receive potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment. Monoclonal antibody infusion treatment is now offered at both its Hacks Cross and University Hospital locations.

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