COVID hospitalizations are beginning to ease up in parts of Tennessee. But intensive care units remain dangerously full, creating a backup in hospitals across the state.
The critical access hospital in Bolivar usually only has two or three patients at any one time. Right now, the rural West Tennessee facility has a dozen patients, and half of them are sick with COVID, according to CEO Ruby Kirby.
“In normal times, we would be able to get those patients out to a higher level of care,” she says.
Some are on ventilators being cared for in the small emergency department and need to be transferred to an ICU in Jackson, Memphis or Nashville. But there are no openings, Kirby says.
“We’re managing them, but it is putting a strain on the system, trying to hold these patients in these hospitals until we can get them moved,” she says.