UTHSC predicts hospitalizations in Shelby County will reach record-breaking levels next week


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Health officials and experts are making dire predictions for the next stage of the pandemic in the Mid-South.

The graph below by the University of Tennessee showed Shelby County hospitalizations since March of 2020. At the very end, there is a projected uptick higher than any other.

Graph provided by UTHSC

Now some health officials and experts are concerned that hospitals may not be able to handle the surge.

“I think that’s an area of concern,” said Dr. Scott Strome, Dean of UTHSC’s College of Medicine.

Strome said hospitals wouldn’t run out of beds, but they could run out of staff, as they already face a nationwide nursing shortage.

“We worry some of the workforce is going to get sick, essentially sidelining them,” said Strome.

And it’s not just adults, Le Bonheur doctors said they’re worried about the increase in positive tests as well as hospitalizations of children.

“There was a several week period of time where we had one or no children with COVID in the hospital and yesterday there were seven kids in the hospital with COVID,” said Dr. Sandra Arnold, the Chief Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and UTHSC.

“If you don’t need to be at work and can work remotely you should work remotely. If you need to be at work, mask at least one or double mask,” Strome said.

At the end, he issued a dire warning: if we don’t eventually achieve herd immunity through vaccination, the virus will continue to mutate and never go away. To get vaccinated, check out options at: shelby.community.

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