OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – As of Thursday afternoon 39 patients are being treated for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections at East Alabama Medical Center.
EAMC continues 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.
The hospital released a status update late Thursday afternoon.
Here’s the latest COVID-19 information from EAMC:
In the Hospital
- EAMC currently has fifteen (15) patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
- One (1) patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged.
- There are 24 patients who are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19.
- Twelve (12) hospitalized patients who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have been ruled negative for the virus.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases by county in EAMC service area
Lee County – 47
Chambers County – 13
Tallapoosa County – 4
Russell County – 1
EAMC COVID-19 Testing Statistics
912 – the # of COVID-19 tests submitted by EAMC
644 – the # of COVID-19 tests that were NEGATIVE
215 – the # of COVID-19 tests that are pending results
22 – the approximate percentage of tests submitted by EAMC of all tests in Alabama (912 out of 4082)
A Plea to Churches
As we continue to screen, test and treat patients, we look for patterns that could help define the situation a little better and perhaps provide insight into slowing the spread of COVID-19. We started with one confirmed case on Sunday, March 15 and we stand at 47 confirmed cases just 11 days later. Obviously, a lot of tests have been performed here—over 900 as of today—so that perhaps explains why Lee County has the 3rd most confirmed cases in Alabama. Also, EAMC now has 15 hospitalized patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19. While there are no absolute patterns among the 47 confirmed cases in Lee County, one nugget of information does stand out a little—the last public setting for a sizable number of them was at church. Not at one church, or churches in one town, but at church in general. While many churches have moved to online services only—or cancelled church services altogether in the interim—there are reports that some still met as recently as last Sunday. We know that being at church is very sacred to many people, but it’s also a place where people are in very close contact and often greet each other with hugs and handshakes as a ritual. With that in mind, we again are asking that church members please not gather until our region has been deemed safe for group activities. Please find alternate ways to worship and stay together as a “church” without congregating. Thank you very much.
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 through the 334-528-SICK hotline. For more information about when to seek screening, visit eamc.org/coronavirus.
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.
Update on Masks
During the daily ADPH update on Monday, Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer, answered questions about the use of handmade masks. He stated that these masks were not suitable for healthcare providers as personal protective equipment, nor are they able to protect individuals from contracting the virus. They can, however, be used by individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, as a way to prevent spreading the virus to those around them when they cough, etc. Anyone wishing to sew masks for that use is asked to please visit the East Alabama Mask Makers Facebook group.
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.