Mid-South doctor says if COVID-19 surge continues, Shelby Co. hospitals could be in trouble with flu season approaching

Dr. McCullers talk COVID-19 in the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As cases rise across Shelby County there are questions about hospitalization rates and the use of beds in hospitals across the Mid-South.

Dr. Jon McCullers, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center joined WMC Action News 5 Tuesday to talk about the coronavirus pandemic and how it’s impacting the Mid-South.

“We’re seeing about 280 cases a day and that number has increased day by day in the last week. We’ve also had some choppiness in reporting because of the Tennessee state system that’s created a backlog,” said McCullers.

Shelby County Health Department reported 691 new coronavirus cases between Monday and Tuesday. Health officials said that large number reflected a backlog of test results.

The latest hospitalizations number released Tuesday showed Acute Care at 90% utilization and ICU hitting the red zone at 91% utilization.

“The key numbers to look at for hospitalizations, is the total number of patients hospitalized in the region has been rising and rising rapidly,” said McCullers. “We now have more than 300 in beds here in the Memphis greater area -- that is close to the records that we saw in mid-July.”

July marked a COVID-19 surge in the Shelby County area with the largest 24-hour case increase reported at more than 700, which was also said to be due to a backlog of tests.

McCullers says with colder weather and flu season approaching on top of the rising COVID-19 cases numbers, the county could be in trouble regarding hospital space.

For more on what McCullers had to say about COVID-19 in the Mid-South, watch the full interview at the top of this story.

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