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Wiregrass hospitals give COVID-19 updates

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:49 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - In recent weeks, Alabama has started to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases around the state. Each week the Alabama Department of Public Health releases a new COVID-19 dashboard from low to very high. The Wiregrass currently sits between all four risk levels.

Alabama has over 185,000 COVID-19 total cases and almost 20,000 hospitalizations, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Over the last week Dale County and Houston County has moved back to a “high” risk status.

“We’re starting to see that swing again,” Dr. Justin Hovey, M.D., Medical Director of ACOM Ashford Clinic said. "The uptick, and if it’s any indication that we’re seeing in the northern part of the states, you know in just a short period of time we will be seeing that in the southern states because during the winter months, or should I say the cooler months, people tend to move in doors and they’re around each other, they are in close proximity so there’s higher likelihood of transmission of the virus at that point.”

Southeast Health has 40 COVID-19 inpatients. 11 of those are in critical care and six are on ventilators. Dr. Hovey said they are not stressed with patients right now.

"We’re hopeful that people will follow the mask mandate and continue to mask and continue to social distance and if we continue to do that we may not see that peak in the state of Alabama that we are seeing in other places,” Dr. Hovey said.

Dr. Hovey said it seems to be more community spread.

“We are going to see a surge in the Winter,” Dr. Hovey said. "How bad it is depends on us and depends on what we do to try to protect our communities and our families.”

Geneva County remains at low risk however, CEO of the Wiregrass Medical center, Janet Smith, said they have seen an increase in covid cases over the last month. They have been at capacity over the last month.

“The hospital has a dedicated isolation wing where we are able to admit and care for covid positive patients who meet inpatient criteria," Smith said. "Over the last two weeks we have been at capacity with an influx of inpatient admissions. Our ER and outpatient services are open and available to meet patient’s needs. wiregrass has relationships with and has been in communication with surrounding facilities in the event that patients need to be transferred.”

The same can’t be said for Dale Medical Center, who over the last few weeks have seen a decline in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“We are seeing an uptick in positive cases, but what we are seeing is a lot of younger people who are testing positive and are recovering,” Vernon Johnson, CEO of Dale Medical Center said. "We are not seeing the critically ill patients that we did during the time of July and August”

Johnson said last week some days they had no COVID-19 patients but on October 27th they had eight hospitalized patients. The Dale Medical Center has five ICU beds and one of them is occupied by a covid patient.

“Since it started in March of our area, we’ve learned a lot in the health care industry,” Johnson said. "The doctors and nurses are doing a fantastic job in treating them and we’re learning to treat people as we go along.”

As of October 26th, Flower’s Hospital in Dothan had 28 COVID-19 inpatients.

The Alabama Department of Public Health updates their COVID-19 Alabama county dashboards every Friday.

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