When do alternative hospital sites become available for COVID-19 patients?

Watch: When do alternative hospital sites become available for COVID-19 patients?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — According to the Shelby County Health Department, the number of people who have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 is reaching a record high.

The question is, when do alternative sites like the Commercial Appeal building become available for patients?

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“It’s the highest number we’ve seen so far but it’s well in our capabilities,” said David Sweat, Shelby County Chief of Epidemiology.

The Shelby County Health Department said they’ve seen the highest number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations.

According to the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center, the numbers have been climbing daily to more than 200 hospitalizations a day.

“If we get to trigger points where we’ve staffed as many beds as we can staff and numbers continue to rise, then we’ll have conversations with the state about when is the right time to open the alternative care site,” Sweat said.

They said if it gets to that point, more than 400 hospital beds are available at the alternative site at the old Commercial Appeal building on Union Avenue.

It’s run by the state; the Tennessee Department of Health will contract with a staffing agency to take care of patients if the site is needed.

“But at this time our hospitalizations are within our capabilities,” Sweat said.

The health department said they hope to lower numbers through the mask up campaign and by getting people to follow CDC guidelines.

According to the numbers from UTHSC, in just a month’s time, we’ve seen hospitalization numbers double.

Because hospitals are already at record numbers, and the daily averages are continuing to rise, we could see action considered by the state in the coming days.

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