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As the highly contagious Delta Variant continues to be fueled by an increase in COVID-19 infections, Tennessee hospitals are under increasing strain to care for patients. Many hospitals are experiencing capacity constraints unlike we have seen during the pandemic. There are several courses of action you can take to protect yourself and your community and help to ease the burden on Tennessee’s hospitals.

Get Vaccinated

Vaccines in the US are highly effective, including against the Delta variant. Most cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated population. For the small percentage of individuals who are vaccinated and experience a breakthrough infection that requires hospitalization, they tend to be high-risk, older age or immunocompromised. COVID-19 vaccines are still the best protection against infection, serious illness and death. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines here. You can find available vaccine appointments here.

Utilize Emergency Care Appropriately

Proper emergency room utilization is a crucial factor in easing the strain on hospitals. To ensure that you are using ER resources wisely:

  • Only use the emergency department (ED) for a true medical emergency 
  • For non-emergency medical care, go to your doctor or a local walk-in clinic
  • Find a COVID-19 testing site near you 

Seek Out Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

Monoclonal antibody treatments are laboratory-made proteins that work in your body by attaching to parts of the virus and helping your immune system respond more quickly to fight it. This treatment has been proven to significantly reduce progression to severe disease, hospitalization, or death. Thousands of Tennesseans have received this life-saving treatment. If you are COVID-positive and at high-risk for severe illness it is important to seek out this treatment quickly after a positive COVID-19 test. Locate monoclonal antibody treatment options here.

Isolate or Quarantine Appropriately

Isolation is for people who are already sick. It separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Isolation is typically stricter than quarantine. You should avoid contact with others as much as possible during your isolation period.

On the other hand, quarantine is for people who were exposed to a contagious disease, so that they do not spread the disease to others. These people may even have been exposed unknowingly, and quarantine works to keep them from spreading the COVID-19.

If you have received a positive COVID test it is vital that you practice proper isolation protocols. This will prevent the spread of the disease. Also practice quarantine if you have been exposed to a COVID-positive case, are experiencing symptoms but waiting on test results, etc.

You can find more about isolation and quarantine here.

Following these tips and best practices will help reduce the strain on hospitals as medical personnel across the state work to ensure the health and safety of all Tennesseans.