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Huntsville Hospital CEO alarmed by COVID-19 spike across the Valley

Updated: Dec. 2, 2020 at 11:13 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - There’s a surge in COVID patients in hospitals, and it’s forcing some to change visitation policies.

On top of that, there’s a shortage of healthcare workers. The healthcare workers that are available are stretched thin, caring for 330 COVID-19 positive patients in the Huntsville Hospital Health System.

One hundred and fifty-five of those patients are in Madison County, 69 are in Decatur-Morgan and another 47 patients are in the Marshall County hospitals.

These are record breaking numbers.

“The short story is we’re expecting the surge to last for awhile.” Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said.

Currently, Huntsville Hospital Health System has 330 COVID positive inpatients. That’s a new record, up 105 percent from one month ago.

Spillers says every indicator shows those numbers will continue to rise.

“About 10-12 percent of people who have COVID are going to end up in the hospital. So it’s a mathematical issue. The more people you have in the community that have COVID, the more that are going to end up in the hospital,” he explained.

He says 12 percent of those people will die.

Another concern is running out of space for the bodies.

“In 25 years of public service, we’re talking about alternatives for space for a morgue. Ok, this is as real as it gets,” Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong said.

And the reality check is being felt across the Tennessee Valley.

“Then you start looking at Morgan, Limestone, Lauderdale, Lawrence, DeKalb. You go through the whole list. They’re experiencing the same thing. Our hospitals are inundated, they’re looking at the largest number of patients they’ve dealt with,” Strong said.

And you certainly need the staff to care for all of these patients.

“Eventually, you run out of people to take care of patients. You don’t run out of places to put patients,” Spillers said.

And the Thanksgiving spike hasn’t even fully set in yet, with Christmas not far behind.

“It only takes one family member with 15 others to infect all 15. Gotta be really careful right now,” Spillers said.

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