COVID-19 Update from EAMC (3/24)

Here’s the latest COVID-19 information from EAMC:
In the Hospital
  • EAMC currently has seven (7) patients hospitalized with COVID-19. One of them is from a nursing home. 
  • One (1) patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged.
  • There are 27 patients who are currently hospitalized withsuspectedCOVID-19.
Testing
  • The number of confirmed cases as of 4:40 p.m. today was 26 for Lee County, 5 for Chambers County and 2 for Tallapoosa County. The number of presumptive cases in the area with mild symptoms is surely much higher. It has been just one week since the Lee County count was at 3.
  • Altogether, EAMC has submitted over 700 collection kits to one of four laboratories. This includes the HealthPlus drive-through site, EAMC’s Emergency Department, EAMC-Lanier’s drive-through site and EAMC-Lanier Emergency Department. This number doesnotinclude any kits that were submitted by area physicians.
  • As of yesterday, a total of 416 tests had come back negative, while 252 tests were still awaiting results.
  • The age range for the patients who have tested positive is between 20 – 82. Health-wise, they ranged from mild symptoms to severe symptoms.
  • The average time for a test to be resulted is 4 days, but some have taken up to 7 days.
Quotes from Laura Grill, EAMC president and CEO:
  • “At this time, Lee County has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the state. That makes us somewhat of a ‘hot spot’ for Alabama and so we are working very closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Hospital Association to monitor our situation.”
  • “Like other hospitals, we have surge capacity contingency plans that have to be considered during times like these. As such, we have made some changes to where we care for certain patient types so as to separate our non-COVID patients from our confirmed or suspected COVID patients.”
  • “I’m very proud of the way our employees and physicians have stepped up during this stressful time. It’s been amazing to see them take this challenge and adapt to the changes we have thrown at them each day, and still provide high-quality compassionate health care. I’m also appreciative of the great support from our community, especially those who have heeded the advice to shelter in place and complied with our difficult decision not to visit our patients and residents. Local leaders and businesses have also provided support in many different ways, including the donations of supplies and food.”     
Important Video from Dr. Maldonado
EAMC released a video last night of Dr. Ricardo Maldonado, infectious diseases specialist, who is the lead expert on EAMC’s COVID-19 Response Team. In the video, he shares his concerns for the days and weeks ahead regarding COVID-19. The video can be found onEast Alabama Medical Center’s Facebook page.
What to do if You Think You Have COVID-19
EAMC released information on its website that provides detailed instructions about what to do if residents think they have COVID-19. The information can be foundhere. For the latest information and updates on COVID-19 in our community, visiteamc.org/coronavirus.
Screening and Testing
Hours for our 334-528-SICK screening hotline are 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Specimen collection will continue daily at HealthPlus and at EAMC-Lanier, but is based on available supplies. As a reminder, appointments can only be made by through the 334-528-SICK hotline. For more information about when to seek screening, gohere.
COVID-19 Results
When someone has a specimen collected to be tested for COVID-19, it may take up to 7 days before the results are provided, but the average return time is 4 days. The patient will receive a call from the EAMC, ADPH and/or an independent lab with their test results. The wait time is due to the amount of tests the labs are receiving nationwide as the pandemic spreads.
Shelter in Place at Home
EAMC is asking everyone to shelter in place at home. Sheltering in place means you stay at home with immediate family members only and should not leave your home except for essential activities such as food, medical care, or work. You should not host gatherings of people outside of your immediate family. You should also maintain a 6-foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces.
Supplies Needed and How to Donate
We are asking businesses that have access to the following items to please consider donating them in the coming days:
  • Isolation gowns: non-sterile, impervious
  • Masks: surgical, procedure, ear loop, ear loop with face shield, or fog-free procedure mask
  • Latex gloves: exam, nitrile or chemo
  • Hand sanitizer: 70% ethyl alcohol
Businesses may bring these items to the collection site outside of EAMC’s Main Lobby between 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. each weekday. An EAMC representative will be there to collect the supplies.
Employers Should Be Screening Their Employees Before Work
Businesses that are still operating should be screening their employees every day, prior to allowing them to enter the premises. While every business may not be able to check the temperature of their employees, they can ask them these key questions:
  1. Do you have a cough? 
  2. Are you having difficulty breathing?
  3. Do you have muscle aches or body aches? 
  4. Do you feel like you have a fever?
  5. Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days? 
  6. Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days? 
  7. Do you feel sick in any way? 
If they answer yes to any of these symptoms, you should strongly consider sending your employees home and telling them to shelter in place at home.   
Also, as a reminder, we cannot test every person who has any of these symptoms just to clear them to go back to work. Collection kits are limited and must be reserved for patients who meet screening criteria for testing. People with symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever can contact their physician or 334-528-SICK for screening. 
Credit: East Alabama Medical Center

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