Columbia’s Maury Regional Medical Center plans to resume carrying out elective surgeries that require an overnight stay, representatives from Middle Tennessee care center told The Daily Herald.
With the change, the medical center continues to call on residents of southern Middle Tennessee to take precautions to prevent any further spread of the virus.
“The pandemic is not only here to stay for an unknown period of time, it is escalating,” said Alan Watson, the CEO of Maury Regional, in a public statement.
The procedures are planned to resume on Monday, Nov. 9, after a two-week suspension in response to an all-time high of 50 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
With its 26-bed intensive care unit fully occupied at the end of last week, the medical center began making preparations to expand the critical care unit to a total of capacity of 38 beds, a change subject to the medical center’s ability to staff the hospital ward.
As of Friday, the medical center continued to hover near its record number of COVID-related hospitalizations, treating 49 patients with the virus, 23 of which are in intensive care.
A total of 27 of the medical center’s 30 critical care beds are occupied.
Maury Regional said 21 of its COVID-positive patients are currently on ventilators.
A nonprofit regional health system, Maury Regional Health is a network of care centers that serve southern Middle Tennessee through a system of clinics, surgery centers, outpatient facilities and a physician practice groups located in Maury, Marshall, Giles, Lawrence, Wayne and Hickman counties.
All patients with the coronavirus in need of hospitalization are being transferred to the network’s Columbia hospital. The network’s flagship location, the medical center on Trotwood Avenue has a total of 360 beds and a staff of more than 200.
Maury Regional also continues to call on patients to continue seeking their regular care. Any postponement of regular care may lead to complications that both depletes the health of a patient and burdens with medical center with a potential risk for avoidable emergencies.
“We continue to provide a safe environment for those who need care and we encourage you to seek care when needed,” Watson said.
Watson has previously touted the medical center as being safer than other locations regularly visited by members of the public.
Mayor and medical center call for mask wearing and social distancing
“Now would be a good time to mention the important role Maury Regional Health has played during this crisis, not just for our community, but for all of south central Tennessee,” Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.
Like many surrounding rural communities, Maury County has not issued a mandatory mask mandate at any point during the pandemic, a decision that has been met with opposition by some members of the community.
Molder continues to call on the people of Columbia and its surrounding communities as two of Maury County’s largest public schools, Columbia Central High School and Spring Hill High School, along with five other campuses have transferred to holding classes remotely to prevent further spread of the virus.
The entire high school at Santa Fe Unit School in rural northwestern Maury County has is also transitioning to the school system’s remote learning system.
Maury County has averaged 56.6 new identified cases of the virus the each day for the past two weeks, an an increase over the previous average, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.
Of all residents who have recently tested for the virus 14.4% have received positive results in the past week.
A total of 118 Maury County residents are currently hospitalized with the virus, representing 1.1% of the state’s 1,502 active hospitalizations.
“Folks, we can do better. And we must do better,” Molder said reiterating comments made earlier in the week. “This is not about shutting down the economy, this is about doing what you can to help save lives–your friends, your neighbors, and your family. This is also about helping keeping our schools open. 2 of the 3 largest schools in Maury County (also located in Columbia) have now pivoted to remote learning as a result of the COVID spread.
“If you want your kids in school, and if you want a return to normalcy, please, please, do your part to stop the spread.”
As of Friday morning, there are 560 active cases of the virus in Maury County, 139 in Marshall County, 152 in Lewis County, 245 in Lawrence County and 116 in Giles County.
In southern Middle Tennessee, both Maury and Giles counties have seen the most deaths from with 39 lost to the virus in Maury County and 38 in Giles County, according to state data.
“In the region we serve, trends for active cases and hospitalization are troubling,” Watson said. “We continue to set new records both nationally and regionally,” Watson said. “Cases and positivity rates in Tennessee continue to climb ,and hospitalization recently reached an all-time high. We need the community’s help to slow the spread of the virus.”
Watson called on the public to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and frequently washing their hands.
He said it was vital that people wear masks in public spaces and in small group settings.
“Make a commitment to help them, to show that you care about others,” Watson said. “Your mask protects others, your mask protects you. Masking makes a difference.”
Watson said the virus continues to spread through small family gathers where many tend to let down their guard.
“We understand the fatigue this virus brings, but there are ways where we can find a balance where businesses and schools can continue to operate, and you can safely spend time with others,” Watson said. “But in order to do so, we must all work together. Remember, you can spread the virus without knowing that you are infected. We need your help to keep the situation manageable.”
Mike Christen is the multimedia editor for The Daily Herald. Reach him at email@example.com and find him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH.