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TEMA, Knox Co. leaders prepare for increase in hospitalizations

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Knox County leaders say they are looking at solutions for a scenario in which COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise.
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:53 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Knox County leaders say they are looking at solutions for a scenario in which COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise.

This pandemic has kept all leaders on their toes, as many wonder if and when more locations will be necessary to treat coronavirus patients.

Knox County leaders have flashed the yellow light on hospitals reaching surge capacities. That means hospitalizations have risen and intensive care unit beds are starting to fill up. According to a report from Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF, Tennessee has fewer than 400 ICU beds as of July 8.

Red lights have been put up for not maintaining or decreasing the number of deaths in the area, nor reducing or stabilizing cases for 14 days. County officials said they have been in contact with Governor Bill Lee as they continue to monitor the situation, and they are looking at alternate spots should they need a location for overflow beds.

At one point, the Knoxville Expo Center was tapped as a potential overflow location. Dean Flener, TEMA spokesperson, said that in Memphis, where cases have been rising, too, 400 beds are ready at the former Commercial Appeal Building to be used as needed. Nashville has 68 additional beds at Nashville General Hospital in case there’s a surge in patients.

For now, Flener said it’s premature to say which locations will be used and when.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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