Cookeville Regional Medical Center CEO Paul Korth said most hospitals across the state are not requiring COVID-19 testing before elective procedures.
CRMC is requiring such testing. That could be one potential reason Upper Cumberland COVID-19 cases are rising.
“I know we as a community are testing more individuals than than other communities in the state,” Korth said. “The more people you test, the more you’re going to have. Thank goodness they’re not sick enough to be in the hospital.”
Korth said the availability of testing remains an issue.
“Testing is still very difficult,” Korth said. “Most hospitals are just like us, we don’t have that. We worked it out with the health department. The state is basically saying anybody wants to be tested, can be tested. So our health department in town has worked very well with us and I want to thank them for what they’re doing.”
Korth said several people preparing for elective procedures have tested positive for COVID-19. Many have been asymptomatic. If someone tests positive, Korth said the individual and the physician will make the decision on whether to go forward with the procedure.
“If the procedure is truly elective and can be be postponed for eight weeks, if you don’t need that procedure done and there’s not any issues and you can wait eight weeks, then the physician and doctor need to have a discussion and they are waiting,” Korth said. “If it is of the essence that it needs to be done and both the physician in the patient realize that they are positive and it’s still a physician decision on whether or not that case will will happen.”
Korth said the current rise has led medical center officials to continue with its current visitation policy.
“We are still trying to encourage those individuals in the community to continue to wear masks,” Korth said. “We will continue to wear masks in the building here, all of our employees both coming in and out of the building. And anytime anybody is in a public area, masks are being worn. And also all of our employees that are treating patients in clinical areas are and will continue to wear masks because they feel that’s very important to help keep these numbers from rising.”
Four people are hospitalized currently at Cookeville Regional. Last week, an individual who spent 85 days in the hospital went home and “is doing OK” after fighting COVID-19.
Korth said the hospital remains ready with personnel and supply capability if COVID-19 numbers surge.