Record numbers at Cookeville Regional Medical Center have the facility working to ensure enough capacity to continue patient treatment.
Chief Strategy Officer Ricky Shelton said that over the past month, the overall number of COVID-positive patients has increased by some 600 percent.
“One thing for sure is the variants that we’re dealing with spread more easily than the initial virus,” Shelton said. “That’s why I think the numbers are dramatically rising here at CRMC and in our community.”
Shelton said that the two biggest concerns the hospital faces are adequate staffing and an adequate number of beds for all patients. He said that the licensed bed capacity sits at 269 beds, but with patients constantly discharged and admitted, the hospital can house up to 290 on any given day.
As of Wednesday, 120 patients were hospitalized with COVID. Shelton said that since March 10th, approximately 92 percent of admitted patients were not vaccinated. He said the ages of those admitted range from 18 to 93, with one 2-year-old pediatric patient. According to the CRMC Daily COVID Dashboard, the average age for patients in intensive care patients is 56.
Shelton said to deal with the increased capacity, the hospital has temporarily suspended all elective procedures.
“Like the sleep center, we’ve had to suspend those types of activities and other services in the hospital we’ve had to put on hold while that staff then helps in other areas that are needed,” Shelton said. “Because at the same time we’re dealing with record numbers there’s a staffing shortage, there is also a nursing shortage. Not just in Putnam County and here at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, but that’s across the county. So both of those things being the case, the hospital, the staff, from top to bottom are pulling together and doing everything they can to help take care of the patients.
Shelton said that the hospital is preparing for a continued increase in numbers over the next week or so. He said that the hospital is doing everything in its power to ensure it’s prepared to handle patients from all over the Upper Cumberland with the best care it can provide.
Shelton said the best way to stay out of the ICU is to get vaccinated. He said that he recommends speaking with a trusted healthcare provider about that option.