JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A total of 355 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 in Ballad Health hospitals — the highest hospitalization numbers since Sept. 22 — the health system reported Monday.

The 48 COVID patients using ventilators, though, is the lowest total since Dec. 10.

The system admitted another 61 COVID patients over the weekend. Ballad has seen its COVID hospitalizations increase 47% since Christmas Eve as they are up from 241 at that point.

The 355 inpatients remain slightly above Ballad’s mid-range projections from early January. Dr. Clay Runnels, Ballad’ chief physician executive, told News Channel 11 on Jan. 5 the system expected a peak of “the low 300s for an average daily census, potentially around 325” as the Omicron variant began to peak.

Runnels did caution that projections were difficult, “because we’re not sure how much Delta [variant] we’re seeing and how much Omicron we’re seeing at this point.”

The number of pediatric COVID patients jumped over the weekend as well, from four to 10. Ballad officials said last week most of the pediatric cases being treated at Niswonger Children’s Hospital have been milder than those experienced during the Delta variant.

Slightly more patients were in intensive care (ICU), as that number rose from 70 to 73 over the weekend. The number of patients on ventilators, however, dropped to 48 — a decrease of nine from Friday. The number hasn’t been that low since. Dec. 10, when it stood at 43.

The following is a breakdown of COVID-19 data provided by Ballad Health on Jan. 17:

  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations: 355 (+33)
  • Total number of COVID-19 PUIs (patient under investigation):6 (-3)
  • Total COVID-19 admissions: 61 (+2)
  • Total COVID-19 discharges: 41 (+10)
  • COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit: 73 (+3)
  • COVID-19 patients on a ventilator: 48 (-9)
  • Pediatric patients in Niswonger Children’s Hospital: 10 (+6)
  • Percent of population fully vaccinated: 47.7%