JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Ballad Health hospitals is up 55% in the past two weeks to 127, while the number in intensive care has doubled to 16 during that period.

Ballad’s weekly COVID data report also shows that six COVID patients are on ventilators in Ballad hospitals across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Ballad reported zero pediatric COVID patients.

The 127 hospitalized is the highest total since Sept. 9, when the system reported 138 hospitalized COVID patients. A late summer surge peaked at 159 hospitalizations Aug. 19, with that number declining to a seasonal low of 65 on Oct. 7.

The eight people in ICU on Dec. 2 was near the lowest it had been since mid-summer, and the one person on a ventilator was its lowest point in months. Those numbers tend to lag hospitalization numbers, which in turn tend to lag case numbers.

Those case numbers regionally are among the highest in the state and have been for several weeks, according to weekly Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) data. Five of Northeast Tennessee’s seven counties had case rates among the highest 10 in the state’s report of the week through Nov. 19, and all were in the top 25 in the most recent report for the week through Dec. 10.

The total number of reported Northeast Tennessee COVID deaths increased by 27 over that three-week period, with 11 of those deaths actually occurring during the time frame. More are likely to be added as death certificates come in.

Northeast Tennessee now has 2,660 official reported COVID deaths. The region’s COVID death rate of 526 deaths per 100,000 population is 26% higher than Tennessee’s statewide rate of 417 deaths per 100,000 and 61% higher than the national rate of 326.