Ballad Health: ‘Our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic’

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Officials with Ballad Health released the latest COVID-19 numbers on Wednesday, announcing there are now 168 patients receiving treatment for coronavirus at Ballad hospitals.

The following is a breakdown of COVID-19 data provided by Ballad Health.

  • Total number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital: 168
  • Total number of COVID-19 PUIs (patient under investigation): 15
  • Designated COVID-19 beds available: 27
  • Number of COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit: 35
  • Number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator: 15

Chief Infection Prevention Officer for Ballad Health, Jamie Swift, said in Wednesday’s media briefing that, “Our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic.”

Swift added that we are past the point of asking where the numbers are coming from. Any time you go out, she said, you’re taking a risk of contracting it because officials can’t identify clusters anymore.

Ballad Health officials said 181 team members are either in quarantine or isolation as of Wednesday. Those team members have either been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting on test results.

News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun reports on other tolls this virus is having on the health system.

Ballad Health officials are said the spread of COVID-19 in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region as truly widespread at this point and that we have passed the point of identifying clusters in the region.

The health system’s officials are advising the Tri-Cities community to adjust its behavior.

“To be quite frank today, our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic. You heard first hand from people who are seeing this every single day,” chief infection prevention officer, Jamie Swift said.

Chief infection prevention officer, Jamie Swift said the region is at a point where if you go out, you are at risk of contracting the virus if you are ignoring proper precautions.

Early on, I know a lot of people felt like it was just the elderly that are hospitalized and that we lose,” Swift said. “Certainly, if enough teens, kids, 20-year-olds get the virus, there’s people who may think, ‘well, if I get it, I’m going to be okay.’ If we have enough of those, we’re eventually going to start seeing that age group hospitalized as well and not have good outcomes.”

As of Monday, the number of in-house COVID-19 deaths has been 212 ranging from 26 to 100 years of age. The average age is 75, according to chief administrative officer, Eric Deaton.

“This pandemic is very aggressive and over the past week alone, we’ve seen a 42% increase in the cases across our region. We had 5,216 cases in a single week, with roughly 7 or 8 percent of those becoming hospitalized. That’s another 30-40 hospitalizations per day,” according to chief administrative officer, Eric Deaton.

With a patient occupancy rate of 94.1%, the health system says more online patient inquiries are growing by the day.

“Already in our community, 74% of Ballad Health’s online patient inquiries are regarding scheduling requests to growth related to COVID-19. This unchecked growth in a virus can create a virus like we have never experienced before,” Deaton said.

Eric Deaton added that the health system is still in need of convalescent plasma and blood donations. health officials ask that you contact marsh regional blood center to make an appointment.

You can watch the entire Ballad Health news conference on our WJHL Facebook page below.

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