COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is issuing a plea to the community to practice precautions now to prevent further spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.
“As a region, we failed Thanksgiving, and now hospitalizations from COVID-19 are surging once again after the Thanksgiving holiday, just as we expected,” stated Paul Korth, CRMC CEO. “We have to halt the spread in our region, and we plead with the community to take notice. The fact of the matter is this – if we don’t decrease the spread of COVID in our region, our medical center may not be able to admit everyone that needs hospitalization if we exceed capacity in the coming weeks. Each of us must take personal responsibility now. We have to take steps to prevent further infection and hospitalizations.”
This week COVID-19 hospitalizations at CRMC have increased by more than 30% since last week and are expected to climb.
“We have capacity for admissions at this time but are extremely worried about the days to come,” added Korth. “We expect to have the highest number of COVID admissions that we’ve seen in the coming days and weeks. We are now starting to see a decrease in staffing following staff exposure to immediate family members. The staffing challenge further restricts our ability to admit patients. Our communities must take this seriously. Families need to alter their plans for Christmas so that loved ones are here to celebrate next year. This is not the year for large holiday gatherings with people from outside of your own household.”
CRMC reminds the public to take precautions to help halt the spread of COVID-19, especially with the holidays and the winter season upon us. Wear a mask in public, socially distance and keep your social circles small.
During the holidays, we encourage families to take steps to protect each other, especially vulnerable members of your families who may be elderly or have weakened immune systems. Tips for a safer holiday gathering:
- Consider gatherings with only members of your household and visit other loved ones virtually.
- If you gather with people outside of your household, gather in a larger location according to the size of your group so that everyone can spread out.
- Seat family members who live together at segregated tables while eating if seating is six feet or less apart. Guests from different households should be seated more than six feet apart while eating outside.
- Open a window to circulate air indoors.
- Spread out and wear masks when not eating.
- If the weather allows, spend time together outdoors.
- Consider serving the food so that everyone is not touching the same serving utensils (i.e., one person serves food, one person serves drinks, etc.)
- Have plenty of hand sanitizer available.
- Clean and disinfect commonly used items and surfaces during the gathering (doorknobs, light switches, countertops, etc.).