Mid-South doctor answers questions about Shelby County COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

Dr. Strome answers questions about COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The latest coronavirus numbers in Shelby County are from the last two days due to technical issues at a state level, but do indicate a rising positivity rate.

Since the week following Mother’s Day, weekly positivity rates in Shelby County have doubled from 4.5% to 10.3%.

Dr. Scott Strome, the executive dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center joined us Tuesday to shed some light on hospitalizations along with other aspects of the pandemic.

Cases, positivity rate continue to increase Shelby County

Strome says local health officials are extremely concerned with the trend of increasing cases.

He says the county is nearing “absolute practical beds that are in available” in hospitals.

“What I mean by that is, if a patient comes into the emergency room needs to be transferred up to [COVID-19] floor,” said Strome. “Just because you have a bed doesn’t necessarily mean you have the nursing staff to get that patient into that bed. Just because the patient can get into the ER doesn’t mean necessarily that we have an adequate number of faculty and staff, etc. to triage that patient rapidly.”

Strome says as the case numbers increase things become a little blurry. He says the number of beds do not directly correlate with availability.

The field hospital, built to take in patients if general hospitals are at capacity, takes about 10 days to be fully operational. Health officials hope the county never needs to open it.

But if it should come to that, staffing could be an issue.

Strome says a change in rotation of ICU doctors and bringing in health care workers from other regions could help.

He also stresses the importance of wearing masks or facial coverings in public.

For the full interview watch the video above.

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