Maury Regional on track to break record for COVID hospitalizations


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Maury Regional Health (MRH) is on a trajectory to break its prior COVID inpatient record of 102 set on December 28, 2020, according to Chief Medical Officer Martin Chaney, M.D. 

On Thursday, September 2, the system had 93 COVID inpatients with 28 (30%) in critical care. This week, Maury Regional was forced to expand its ICU beds from 26 to 38 and may need to expand further if more COVID patients require hospitalization and ICU-level care, according to Dr. Chaney. 

“We are experiencing an influx of critically ill COVID patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Chaney. “We also continue to see an increase in patients in our urgent care facilities and emergency rooms. When you look at local, regional and state trends, we can only expect these numbers to increase in the coming days.” 

According to Dr. Chaney, 90.4% of hospitalized COVID inpatients at Maury Regional Health in August were not fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates in the health system’s primary six-county service area range from 32% to 59.2%. While the health system serves a multi-county region, Maury County alone has averaged 96.9 new cases per day over the past 14 days, an increase of 69% from the prior 14 days.   

Statewide, there were 3,501 individuals hospitalized with COVID on September 1, with 968 of those in ICU. Just six weeks ago there were only 580 individuals hospitalized in Tennessee, an increase of more than 500%. Pediatric hospitalizations have also increased during that same time period from nine to 79, nearly a 778% increase. The seven- day average of new cases statewide is 7,739. 

CEO Alan Watson stated, “Health care systems across Tennessee are feeling the strain of increased hospitalizations. We have nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and others who are working long hours and extra shifts to care for our patients. I am immensely proud of our care teams at Maury Regional Health, but it is taking a toll on them physically and emotionally. They are holding the hands of scared patients about to be placed on a ventilator and consoling families as they lose a loved one. They are heroes, but they need the help of our community. Please get vaccinated and, as the CDC has recommended, wear a mask in public indoor spaces regardless of your vaccination status.”  

According to the CDC, the delta variant is currently the dominant strain in the U.S. and is two to three times more contagious than the original COVID-19 virus. 

“As a community, we cannot continue to ignore this virus. It is no longer attacking only the elderly and frail; we are seeing younger, more healthy patients hospitalized,” said Dr. Chaney. “Until we can slow the transmission of this virus through vaccination, masking and social distancing, we will continue to see it mutate, which may result in a vaccine that was initially 99% effective in reducing hospitalizations being far less effective on newer variants.” 

Maury Regional Health has administered more than 30,000 vaccinations to date and continues to offer vaccination opportunities for the public through its mobile unit and vaccination clinic. For more information about vaccination, please visit Vaccination is also offered at county health departments throughout the region.

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