As the Tennessee Department of Health reported a record number of hospitalizations this week, WMC also hit a new peak in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, doubling the highest number of admitted patients since the onset of the pandemic in March. While this changes at any given moment, at present WMC is currently treating 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients ranging from 40 to 90 years of age, with and without underlying health conditions.
The number of WMC employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have a household member who is positive has increased dramatically in accordance with overall trends across the state. This has created a critical staffing situation and we are making adjustments to ensure appropriate care for all patients at WMC.
However, in an effort to limit the impact on hospital floor staff and save valuable resources, effective Tuesday, July 21, WMC is cancelling all elective inpatient surgeries that would require an overnight stay. If patients can be discharged on the same day, those procedures may be completed as scheduled. We are continuing with emergency surgeries as usual.
The hospital is currently at 70% capacity of beds utilized for COVID-19. We have adequate isolation space for current patients and transitional plans in place for activation as needed to maximize capacity.In response to increased test demand, at this time we are not providing COVID-19 testing for those who do not have symptoms or meet screening criteria. Asymptomatic individuals may locate other approved area testing sites at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessment-sites.html.
WMC remains confident in the necessary precautions we are taking to protect our patients and staff while continuing to serve the full spectrum of healthcare needs of our community. In addition to existing safety measures in place, we have also implemented enhanced protection protocols including symptom screening upon entry, universal mask requirements, physical distancing, increased sanitation and a limited visitor policy.
While we are prepared to provide COVID-19 care, we continue to safely serve all healthcare needs. WMC continues to urge patients not to delay routine or urgent medical care. Telehealth services are also available.
At this time, we have appropriate medical equipment and supplies on hand. However, in order to conserve PPE supply, we welcome the donation of courtesy masks from the community as we did early in the pandemic.
Social distancing within the community remains critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the CDC recommends that individuals over two years of age wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Proper hygiene including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer when necessary should also remain a priority as well as the cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
Your health is always our priority. We appreciate the community’s support as we continue to navigate this critical health situation.
To stay informed about COVID-19 visit www.CDC.gov or call the Tennessee Department of Health patient hotline at 877-857-2945 with questions.