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Local doctor pleads for community’s help to decrease COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations

Doctor Matt Hanserd says he’s anticipating a spike in hospitalizations in December and January
Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:11 PM CST
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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - For the last nine months, Tennessee Valley nurses and doctors have been treating a high number of COVID-19 patients in area hospitals.

“To consistently have 16-22 patients in the hospital with COVID in the last several months has been a challenge for us," Doctor Matt Hanserd said.

Hanserd who’s a physician and Hospitalist Director at Athens-Limestone Hospital says, the ICU has been close to full, or full for the last month now. He anticipates those numbers to worsen in December and January.

Hanserd is also concerned a high volume of COVID-19 patients, will greatly impact the treatment of non-COVID-19 patients.

“If the healthcare system gets overwhelmed, then mortality rates will rise. And you’ll see mortality rise from other things we usually treat really well like heart attacks, from stroke, from different types of cancer, you’ll see all of those increase if the health care system is overwhelmed," Hanserd explained.

He says it’s more critical than ever for the community to play a role in decreasing the spread of COVID-19.

“The things that worked in the beginning still work. Social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask in public," Hanserd said.

Hanserd also says, it could be months until a vaccine is here.

While he’s hopeful the COVID vaccine is in Alabama before the end of the year, he says there are already preventative measures you and your family can be taking.

“Please go get a flu shot. If it decreases the amount of patients from 5-7 people down to one, you’re saving those beds for people who might get COVID that don’t have a vaccine available for them," Hanserd continued.

Flu shots with insurance are typically free. You can also get a $5.00 flu shot at your local health department.

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