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Ballad Health sees record day for COVID hospitalizations

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Before the Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations, Ballad Health warned of a potential surge in COVID positive tests as well as hospitalizations and if Monday was any indication, that surge may be starting to reveal itself.

The Ballad Health System which serves a 21-county area reported a record-high 349 hospitalizations for COVID leaving 58 COVID beds for any new patients with 13 more patients under evaluation for the virus.

These numbers may be nowhere near what may be coming as there weren’t as many tests done over the holidays with many testing sites closed.

“On Monday, January 4, COVID-19 testing will be offered between 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. five days a week at no charge to those wishing to be tested at TDH locations in Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties,” stated Health Council Coordinator Jayne Harper in a press release on December 31.

“TDH testing sites employ self-testing kits for adults Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and drive through testing on Tuesday and Thursday. These updated hours allow staff members to transition to COVID-19 vaccination priority populations.”

The past seven days have seen 92 deaths accounted to the virus bringing the total to 1,153 since March 1, 2020, in the 21-county coverage area Ballad serves.

A total of 36 patients were released from the hospital but with an influx of 41 new admissions, the patient count saw a positive increase of plus five.

The positivity rate which shows the number of people who test positive continues to show a high number at 30.5 percent meaning that one in every three tests performed comes back positive.

Of the 349 patients that are currently admitted, 63 of those patients are in the Intensive Care Unit with 41 patients on ventilators.

Since reporting began on March 1, 2020, there have been 67,818 people who have tested positive within the 21-county region.

In Carter County, the first three days of the New Year through Sunday showed 182 new positive cases and two deaths. There are currently 579 active cases in the county.

Ballad Health continues to charge citizens to do their part in keeping the rates of the virus reduced in the region including wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands on a regular basis.

Local health departments continue to schedule those 75 years old and older for vaccination against the COVID virus.