LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – A Saturday afternoon release from Lee County’s Coroner confirms five people have died in the county from COVID-19 at East Alabama Medical Center.
“As of 3:15 pm Saturday, Lee County has had five deaths related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). All five have died at East Alabama Medical Center since early Friday morning,” said Coroner Bill Harris.
Harris says two of the deaths were Lee County residents and three were residents from Chambers County.
East Alabama Medical Center released the following information Saturday afternoon:
Five Deaths Reported
East Alabama Medical Center officials are saddened to report that five (5) patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died at the hospital since Friday morning. Three (3) of the patients were from Chambers County and two (2) from Lee County. As of 5 p.m., this total is not yet reflected on the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website because hospital officials and ADPH are working through the process for official state determination before adding them to the COVID-19 death count. However, EAMC felt it was important to share at this time so that citizens in this area understand the gravity of this virus. “Our hospital family expresses its collective condolences to the families of these five patients,” stated Laura Grill, EAMC President and CEO. “As everyone knows, this virus has taken a toll on our nation and world, and our community is not exempt from that. Our hearts and prayers are with these families at this very difficult time.” Grill adds that “the ICU staff, respiratory therapists and physicians who worked most closely with these patients are especially struggling and we ask that the community lift them up today just as they have been lifting up our whole organization the past two weeks.”
In the Hospital
- EAMC currently has 19 patients hospitalized with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Five (5) patients who were previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged.
- There are 22 patients who are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19.
- Fourteen (14) hospitalized patients who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have been ruled negative for the virus.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases by county in EAMC immediate service area
Lee County – 56
Chambers County – 17
Tallapoosa County – 5
Bullock County – 3
Randolph County – 2
Russell County – 1
Clay County – 2
EAMC COVID-19 Testing Statistics
1033 – the # of COVID-19 tests submitted by EAMC
751 – the # of COVID-19 tests that were NEGATIVE
209 – the # of COVID-19 tests that are pending results
22 – the approximate percentage of tests submitted by EAMC of all tests in Alabama
8.9 – the percentage of EAMC test kits that have tested positive
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.
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 surface