Helen Keller Hospital president says COVID numbers decreased; Not in a good way

Hellen Keller Hospital COVID-19 update

SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - COVID-19 patients at Helen Keller hospital have actually decreased, but President Kyle Buchanan said that is no indication of good news.

“We’re moving from a place from where we’re concerned about what we’re seeing, to now we’re alarmed,” said Buchanan.

Over the last few days, COVID-19 patients at Helen Keller Hospital have dropped from 37 to 28, but Buchanan said it’s not good news.

“No encouragement. Over the past week we’ve seen several transfers and, very transparent, just like other hospitals, we’ve seen some deaths over the last several days so our decrease has been accounted largely to transfers and to patients who have expired,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan said this is just the beginning.

“That alarm has in the past, of course you’ve heard me say this before as well, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That worst case scenario is what we’re working through right now to make sure we are prepared if we have an additional influx of 50 and 60 percent of COVID patients of which we are above now, which I’ve mentioned that in the last two weeks we’ve been at a record level,” said Buchanan.

Currently Helen Keller has 22 staff members who have tested positive, and another 15 who are isolating.

That’s forcing some creative staffing moves as employees prepare for more patients.

“Part of what we’ve worked through with that is bringing in as many additional staff as possible, increasing equipment, ventilators, other medications and increasing the par level associated with that,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan said his hospital is coordinating with the state on vaccination plans, but says patient care is the focus right now.

“We’re not nearly as concerned about the vaccines as we are about the patients. So that’s our number one priority is just taking care of the sick people we got,” said Buchanan.

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