86% of ICU beds are taken in Shelby County

WATCH: 86% of ICU beds are taken in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no signs of the virus slowing down.

Hospital resources are being used across the country and that includes right here in the Mid-South.

County and State officials work together to determine if and when they may use an alternate care site for COVID patients but exhausting all other options, first.

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Hospitalizations have increased, and ICU beds are in pretty high demand in Shelby County.

On Friday, 87 percent of ICU beds were spoken for and Monday, 86 percent with just 62 beds left.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland spoke with FOX13 about what that means for the area.

“We’re at 90 percent or so ICU beds, but the hospitals themselves can have surge capacity,” Strickland said. “Meaning they can add rooms and staff. On top of that, we also have the old commercial appeal building we can use, too.”

FOX13 reached out to the Shelby County Health Department regarding when the county may be forced to use the old Commercial Appeal building, or the Memphis alternative care site.

A spokeswoman said the facility is a state asset, and it’s their call on when that would happen.

After, FOX13 got in touch with the Tennessee Department of Health.

A spokesperson said their number one priority is helping with the implementation of surge planning.

In other words, extending hospital capacity to care for as many patients as possible in regular hospitals.

“The Governor’s Unified Command Group continues to monitor closely the increases in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations in Tennessee,” said Bill Christian, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health.

“UCG is working closely with the Tennessee Hospital Association and local health care providers to monitor hospital capacity and be prepared to make additional patient beds available, which can include if needed, activating the COVID-19 care sites in Memphis and in Nashville,” he said.

Mayor Strickland told FOX13 the opening of the COVID19 care site likely won’t happen anytime soon.

“No, I don’t think that’ll be in the near future,” Strickland said. “But I definitely think it’s a possibility if people don’t wear a mask and continue to not follow the rules.”