COVID-19 Update: Michael's Weekly Update for February 15

February 15, 2021

Dear Providers,

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, I want to spotlight a timely event hosted by Le Bonheur’s History and Heritage Committee on “The History and the Future of Vaccinations in the African American Community.” Panelists include Lai Brooks, senior director of the Le Bonheur Neurosciences Institute, Elizabeth Hart, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Engagement for the Tennessee Department of Health, and Dr. Alina West, assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC.

COVID-19 continues to trend in the right direction, both locally and nationally. Today’s new Shelby County case count is 156, and nationwide there are 63,850 new cases, down 39% over the prior two weeks. Across the country, the seven-day average of new cases is now below 100,000 -- down from a peak of approximately 250,000 right after the holidays.

Our weekly comparison chart reflects vaccine administration numbers are going up and inpatient census is coming down sharply. While the US is now vaccinating more than 1.6 million people per day, the CDC reports that what is causing COVID-19 infections to plummet is that more Americans are following the proven infection prevention practices: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, and not socializing with others indoors.  

Milestone Comparison Chart

Metric

MLH Phase 2 Re-opening

Mon May 18

MLH Summer Peak

Fri July 31

MLH Year to Date Peak

Mon Jan 4

One Week Prior

Feb 8

Current Week

Feb 8

MLH Vaccine Doses Given

NA

NA

6,400

18,058

19,477

MLH COVID-Positives

51

148

271

108

79

MLH COVID PUIs

30

24

5

1

2

MLH COVID ICU Census

26

66

79

32

29

MLH COVID on Vents

9

30

43

15

12

MLH Deaths

38

146

521

669

688

MLH Available Beds

435

63

10

24

21

Community-wide COVID inpatients*

NA

384

615

285

256*

Shelby County Cases

3,761

20,082

68,753

82,845

85,092

Shelby County Deaths

85

275

921

1,357

1,432

DeSoto County Cases

386

3,062

15,142

18,783

19,176

DeSoto County Deaths

5

26

141

217

226

*As of Feb. 11, the most recent available data.

Today, our COVID-positive inpatient census is 79, up slightly from yesterday’s 75, and dramatically lower than a week ago. Our percentage of patients in active treatment or fully recovered is steady at 96.0%.

Even with the lower COVID cases, bed availability remains limited, and that affects ED boarding. There were 72 patients boarding in our EDs at 7:00 a.m., well above Sunday morning’s 51. At the same time, we had 21 total beds available, all med/surg step down beds. There were no critical care beds available early this morning, but we will work throughout the day to expand capacity with safe, timely discharges and assignment of float pool staff.

PPE supplies are healthy and stable, with all items at green levels.

Overall, our blood supply is stable in the yellow zone, but the wintry weather has created a supply problem for platelets. We currently have just two units for the system, and we are unclear when additional quantities will be delivered due to disruptions in transportation systems. Providers are asked to refrain from starting any procedures that may require platelet transfusions. Application to the medical director of the blood bank is required for any provider who intends to make use of platelets.

On this exceptionally cold Monday, the words of Chief Mission Integration Officer Rev. Dr. Albert Mosley are certain to provide a moment of warmth, and I encourage you to take time to read and reflect on his message.

In my nearly 14 years in Memphis, I don’t think I can recall a week with such extended frigid temperatures and snow accumulation. Of course, even with this extraordinarily bad weather, those of us called to work in healthcare must still find a way to make sure patients’ needs are met. I am truly thankful for the members of our MLH family who endure wintry weather to be here for our patients, their families and each other.

Michael Signature

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