Ballad Health on COVID-19: ‘We’re actually seeing our first pediatric hospitalized case’

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- On the heels of the national trend, the state of Tennessee and the Tri-Cities are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Northeast Tennessee has 112 active cases, 29 of those are in Washington Co., 27 are in Greene Co., and there are 19 in Carter Co.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Ballad Health officials said they have 11 covid-positive patients in their system, which is almost double the amount they had last week.

“People may be diagnosed but then need hospitalization as they go through their course of illness a little bit later,” said Jamie Swift, Ballad Health’s Director of Infection Prevention. “We’re actually seeing our first pediatric hospitalized case, so we have 10 adults as of this morning and one pediatric case hospitalized.”

Swift said this isn’t a surprise as cases started going up across the region three weeks ago. She also says the age of patients has changed

“Our age range has drastically changed,” Swift said. “So, what we’re seeing overwhelmingly is that our cases are related to travel and so it’s either people that have traveled or people that have come back and been exposed in the community to someone who traveled. That means our age ranges of our cases most recently have really went down to between the 20-50 age range.”

Most of the cases are linked to people traveling outside of the Tri-Cities.

“We need to be careful on our destinations,” Swift said. “You can go onto any social media or news broadcast and see where the hot spots are, see where there’s rapidly increasing numbers and we all want to be there but I think we need to avoid those areas.”

With businesses opening and events starting back up- people are starting to venture out more and in larger groups.

“Whether it’s a group of 50 or a group of 30,000, my message is the same- we really need to work together as a community to make sure that we’re social distancing, wearing a mask when we’re in public and using good hand hygiene,” Swift said

Ballad Health is still monitoring the situation daily and said they are prepared for an increase in cases and hospitalizations.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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