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Tennessee hits all-time high for COVID-19 hospitalizations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —Tennessee has reached another grim milestone in the fight against COVID-19: There are now more people hospitalized with the virus than at any other point in the pandemic.

Data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows 3,501 people are hospitalized wit novel coronavirus as of Wednesday, blowing past the state's previous high of 3,351 COVID-19 patients in early January.

Hospitals across the state are feeling the strain of COVID-19, with the new surge fueled by the Delta variant.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is seeing a new high in the number of COVID-19 patients.The hospital said it's currently treating 192 across its healthcare system. That number includes 23 pediatric patients. VUMC says 99% of these patients have the Delta variant. The hospitals previously said most patients are unvaccinated.

Of the total hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Tennessee, 79 are among children. Some local pediatricians are overwhelmed with the number of appointment requests they’re getting amid the surge in COVID-19 child cases.

Dr. Jim Keffer, a pediatrician at Old Harding Pediatrics.

“We’re gonna see more kids in the hospital and dead from COVID or getting long COVID, which is terrible,” says Dr. Keffer.

Dr. David Aronoff with VUMC stresses the importance of vaccines, saying they not only keep people out of the hospital, but also keep people from dying of the virus. Dr. Aronoff echoed what many other hospitals are reporting: most hospitalized COVID-19 patients aren't vaccinated.

That includes children under 12, who don't yet have access to the vaccine.

Dr. Aronoff says preventative measures taken before vaccines were available should also be used today: wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands often.

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