NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health says members of the Tennessee National Guard will deploy to hospitals to respond to the rising number of hospitalizations in the state to fill the bed and staffing shortages.

Dr. Lisa Piercey appeared for a 30-minute briefing concerning COVID-19 and the rapid spread of infections leading to a backlog in Tennessee hospitals.

“We are having hospital capacity concerns on both the pediatric side as well as the adult side,” Piercey said.

While most of the 2,200 hospitalized Tennesseans are adults, children aren’t being left out of the newest COVID-19 surge. “Over the weekend, we had 50 children hospitalized statewide the latest numbers I think is down to 45 that will fluctuate,” Piercey said.

The rise in infections comes as schools head back to the classroom.

The state additionally has allowed flexibility among hospital professionals and staffers to treat patients that are out of their field of study to help fill needed gaps as their health care infrastructure is becoming overwhelmed.

“If you don’t have a true medical emergency, don’t go to the ER,” said Dr. Piercey.

Instead, she advised people to go to urgent care clinics or other lower levels of care where they can be rapidly discharged.