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'A critical junction' | Doctors urge caution COVID-19 continues to surge in Tennessee

On Tuesday, the state department of health reported nearly 90,000 active cases. Hospitalizations set new records too.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn — There are more Tennesseans with COVID-19 right now than ever before.

New data from the state health department showed nearly 90,000 active cases — meaning roughly 1 in 75 people are currently infectious.

"I'm afraid cases are continuing to creep up," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "We're seeing not only more people in hospitals and intensive care units, but we're seeing more children being admitted to our pediatric hospitals."

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported nearly 3,700 people were being treated for COVID-19 in the state's hospitals. At least 67 children are currently hospitalized because of the virus.

Local health leaders have stressed they're unsure when those numbers will begin to decline.

"At this point, to be quite frank, we really don’t know how high that number’s going to go," University of Tennessee Medical Center's Dr. James Shamiyeh said on Thursday. "The situation is accelerating and we are becoming increasingly concerned."

Credit: WBIR Data Team

RELATED: KCHD: 2,731 new cases of COVID-19, 13 new deaths in Knox County

Things like football season and Labor Day weekend could make the COVID-19 situation worse.

"You could get infected, even in an outdoor crowded environment," Dr. Schaffner said. "We certainly are concerned that this holiday weekend, which was a wonderful weekend, could cause some spread."

Some southern states, like Florida, have reported a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past few weeks. However, health leaders emphasize it's too early to tell whether Tennessee will follow soon.

"It's possible that things could slow down, but I think it could take quite a few weeks yet," Dr. Schaffner said. "We could have continuing COVID transmission and hospital admissions well into the fall before things turn down sometime this winter."