Coronavirus: Area hospitals near ICU capacity, nearly 900 new cases reported

By , Daily Memphian Updated: December 15, 2020 10:54 AM CT | Published: December 15, 2020 10:43 AM CT

Intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy in Memphis-area hospitals is at 97%, as of 5 p.m. Monday, following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Shelby County.

There are currently 15 ICU beds available, according to Tennessee’s Healthcare Resource Tracking System. Those who have coronavirus or are suspected of having the virus represent 37% of ICU patients. 

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The Shelby County Health Department reported 893 new COVID-19 cases and nine more coronavirus-related deaths in its daily update Tuesday, Dec. 15.

That’s Shelby County’s third highest daily increase in new cases during the pandemic. Overall, the three highest daily increases have occurred in the past four days.

The 893 coronavirus cases reported Tuesday came from 8,446 test results, yielding a 10.6% positivity rate. Test results, however, are not reflective of the previous 24-hour period and include tests over multiple days.

With the nine new deaths in Tuesday’s data, the Health Department has reported 43 more COVID-19 related deaths in the past week. 

Since March, the Health Department has reported 56,820 total coronavirus cases and 752 deaths, classifying 50,634 cases as inactive/recovered.

Active cases in Shelby County stand at 5,434, a substantial increase from the 4,886 reported Monday. That’s the first time active cases countywide surpassed 5,000 since August 4.

Since March, a total of 742,007 coronavirus tests have been performed in Shelby County, yielding an 9% positivity rate.

There were 511 COVID-19 patients in Memphis-area hospitals as of 5 p.m. Monday, according to Tennessee’s Healthcare Resource Tracking System. 

Of the 511 people hospitalized, 357 are in acute care beds, with 154 in intensive care unit beds.

Hospital capacity for acute care beds is at 91% use, and ICU beds are at 97% occupancy.

Those who are COVID-positive or suspected of having the virus represent 20% of acute care patients and 37% of ICU patients.



coronavirus COVID-19 hospital capacity Shelby County Health Department Tennessee Healthcare Resource Tracking System
Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf

Omer Yusuf covers Bartlett and North Memphis neighborhoods for The Daily Memphian. He also analyzes COVID-19 data each week. Omer is a former Jackson Sun reporter and University of Memphis graduate.


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