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Tennova, UT Medical Center reports rise in COVID hospitalizations

Two East Tennessee hospital systems report COVID-19 patients have risen in the past few days.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Up
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two East Tennessee hospital systems report COVID-19 patients have risen in the past few days.

“We are seeing a rise of Covid patients in our facilities, the majority of whom are unvaccinated,” said Stephanie Austin, a spokesperson for Tennova.

On Facebook, UT Medical reported 50 people had been hospitalized due to COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The Friday before, 30 people were hospitalized.

The Knox County Health Department said they’ve only received notification of one confirmed omicron case in Knox County.

“That said, due to the transmissibility of this variant, there are likely more cases and this number will continue to increase. It’s important to remember that genetic sequencing at the state and federal level is done on only a sample of the tests that are conducted. So, the Omicron cases that we are notified of are not going to be all of the cases of Omicron in our community,” said Kelsey Wilson, a spokesperson for the Knox County Health Department.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said so far the omicron variant seemed less severe than others, but it is highly transmissible. He warned people should continue to protect themselves.

”What we’re hoping when we get through this Omicron wave that we will have enough people vaccinated and/or having been infected and recovered well that there will be a degree of immunity in the community such that you don’t have a situation where it’s dominating your life,” said Fauci.

It’s a different story for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

“At ETCH, we haven’t experienced any uptick in cases as of yet,” said Seth Linkous, a spokesperson for Children’s. He said, “we will continue to monitor and be prepared.”

The Tennessee Department of Health will host a virtual media briefing with Dr. Lisa Piercey on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. CT to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. WVLT will be monitoring this press conference.

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