Mid-South doctors urge people to get vaccinated as infections mount


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A plea from doctors on Tuesday as COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise.

They’re urging people to get vaccinated as Shelby County now averages 430 cases a day. These numbers come as a new health order, “strongly recommending masks” was issued.

As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase, there’s a ripple effect. With the added patient load, this means even longer wait times for those visiting a hospital.

Dr. John Eick with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare says if the number of COVID-19 cases continue at their current rate, he thinks we’ll soon surpass peak numbers we saw last winter.

“The numbers don’t look good,” Dr. Eick said. “Despite thinking the most dire times were behind us we are now seeing them in front of us and frankly it’s scary.”

Dr. Eick notes the community reaction.

You can just see it on people’s faces. The dismay that we thought we were past this, didn’t think that we were going to have to reopen the COVID unit, have to be talking about how we were going to take care of all these patients if we are going to reach capacity at some point,” said Eich.

Dr. Eick says the vast majority of coronavirus patients they’re seeing admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated. 

As hospitals fill up there’s a downstream effect, people are waiting for hours in waiting rooms and the ER for a spot to open. 

Dr. Eick is doing what he can saying, “I’ve been taking care of patients myself in the emergency room which is not something that was that common pre pandemic.”

Looking ahead long-term his message to those who have not yet been vaccinated is this, “It’s a plea, that’s the only way we’re going to get through this.”

Dr. Eick did say masks are important and should be used but points out that they’re a band aid solution. Ultimately, vaccinations will get us through this. 

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