Total in ICU and hospitalized also highest since early October

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — For the first time in two months, more than 50 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators at Ballad Health hospitals, while the number in intensive care (ICU) is also at a two-month high, Ballad reported Monday.

A total of 51 patients were intubated (using ventilators to essentially breathe for them) Monday, and 68 were in ICU — both up by eight since Friday.

The system also reported an increase in patients hospitalized for the virus over the weekend, with that total exceeding 250 for the first time since Oct. 8.

All three metrics have steadily increased over the past month as the hospital system copes with the results of another new case surge that began at the beginning of November.

According to Ballad, 253 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 in facilities across the system’s 21-county service area. That is 87% higher than the 135 that were hospitalized on Nov. 15. The rate was last higher than Monday’s on Oct. 8, when it stood at 264.

Increases in ICU and ventilator numbers lagged the hospital increase by a couple of weeks. The ICU numbers stayed mostly in the 40s through November, and were at 39 just two weeks ago.

Since then they have increased by 74%.

The rise in ventilated patients has been similar. A total of 30 were on ventilators two weeks ago, and that has risen 70% since.

Data also showed an increase in pediatric patients; there are now four children fighting the virus at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, compared to three on Friday.

The following is a breakdown of COVID-19 data provided by Ballad Health on Dec. 13:

  • Total COVID-19 hospitalizations: 253 (+19)
  • Total number of COVID-19 PUIs (patient under investigation): 2 (-1)
  • Total COVID-19 admissions: 30 (-14)
  • Total COVID-19 discharges: 27 (-5)
  • COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit: 68 (+8)
  • COVID-19 patients on a ventilator: 51 (+8)
  • Pediatric patients in Niswonger Children’s Hospital: 4 (+1)
  • Percent of population fully vaccinated: 46.3%

Ballad Health reported Monday that there have been 48 COVID-related deaths in the region in the past seven days, compared to the 44 deaths reported on Friday within the last seven days.

The region’s positivity rate stands at 15.9% on Monday, an increase from the positive rate previously reported Thursday.