Hospital temporarily stopping all elective surgeries

COOKEVILLE – Effective Wednesday, Dec. 9, Cookeville Regional Medical Center is stopping all elective surgeries for both inpatients and outpatients due to the increased volume of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Urgent and emergency surgeries, however, will continue.

“We are experiencing challenges right now in bed capacity and with staffing,” stated Paul Korth, CRMC CEO. “With COVID-19 so widespread in our region, we now have higher numbers of staff calling in and that makes staffing more difficult at this time. With that said, we feel like it is in the best interest of our medical center to stop all elective surgeries for now. We will continue to evaluate the situation every day, and we will resume elective surgeries as soon as we are able.”

Elective surgery means “scheduled,” as opposed to an emergency surgery. 

“We want to assure the public that an elective case does not mean their care isn’t important,” added Korth. “The basic guideline that our surgeons will use to determine if a case needs to be done is whether the procedure can temporarily wait without being detrimental to the patient’s health.”

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.

“We plead with the communities in our region to take precautions,” said Korth. “As we’ve said before, we can expect to see the highest numbers of the pandemic ahead of us. By stopping all elective surgeries, we are taking further steps to continue to have enough capacity to care for our existing patient load, but we are concerned that we are on the verge of more capacity and overflow issues. We are reaching a critical point in our region where our public can’t just assume that we’ll have a bed when and if they get sick. If we don’t take steps now to halt the spread, we will likely not be able to admit every patient that comes to us.”

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.).

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