JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health reported Wednesday that the system reached a new peak amid the Omicron surge — 427 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized with the virus in its facilities.

The record tops previous highs seen during the Delta surge in September 2021, which saw 413 and 408 COVID-19 patients on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, respectively.

Throughout the Delta peak, Ballad officials said that the region’s high COVID-19 case counts are “fueled by people who are not vaccinated.”

Wednesday marked yet another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region; however, admission and discharge data within its 21-county service area show a steady in-and-out pattern not seen during Delta.

Ballad reported that there were 83 admissions since Tuesday but also recorded 62 discharges in the same time period.

Critical COVID-19 cases include 74 COVID-19 patients fighting the virus within intensive care units (ICU), 51 of whom are relying on a ventilator.

Eighty-six percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations involve patients who are not vaccinated against the virus, according to Ballad.

This disparity increases among critical COVID-19 cases, with 95% of ICU hospitalizations consisting of unvaccinated patients. Ballad also revealed that 96% of COVID-19 patients on ventilators have not received the shots.

Photo: Ballad Health

The numbers in ICU since mid-December have held relatively steady even as inpatient counts have nearly doubled, another trend supporting Ballad officials’ comments that the Omicron variant — while still capable of causing severe illness — is less severe on a per-case basis than was Delta.

The following is a breakdown of COVID-19 data provided by Ballad Health on Jan. 26:

  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations: 427 (+21)
  • Total number of COVID-19 PUIs (patient under investigation): 7 (-1)
  • Total COVID-19 admissions: 83 (+7)
  • Total COVID-19 discharges: 62 (+11)
  • COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit: 74 (-5)
  • COVID-19 patients on a ventilator: 51 (-3)
  • Pediatric patients in Niswonger Children’s Hospital: 8