EAMC urges home sheltering, 34 hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19

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OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – 34 patients are now being treated for either confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections at East Alabama Medical Center. Nine have been confirmed to have the illness. 25 are suspected of having the virus.  EAMC continues asking everyone to shelter in place at home and to donate supplies if you can, a list is below.

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 Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s the latest COVID-19 information from EAMC:

In the Hospital

• EAMC currently has nine (9) patients hospitalized with COVID-19.  One of them is from a nursing home.  

• One (1) patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged. 

• There are 25 patients who are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19.

Testing Results

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 5:30 p.m. today was 40 for Lee County, 10 for Chambers County and 4 for Tallapoosa County.  The number of presumptive cases in the area with mild symptoms is undoubtedly higher.  

The average time for a test to be resulted is 4 days.

A total of 54 specimen were collected taken at the HealthPlus drive-through testing site. There have been a total of 703 collection kits submitted to labs from this one site and around 800 total (includes EAMC-Lanier’s collection site and the Emergency Department at both hospitals). 

528-SICK Hotline

There were 651 calls between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. today.  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, go here.

Local Leaders Gather Virtually

EAMC President and CEO Laura Grill and EAMC-Lanier Administrator Greg Nichols met with local leaders today via conference call to provide a mid-week update on the COVID-19 situation in the organization.  Grill discussed the current statistics regarding the virus, where EAMC stands on testing kits and results, the hospital’s pandemic plans, and the current level of supplies.  She also shared the hospital’s appreciation to the community for many expressions of support.  Included on the call were representatives from Opelika, Auburn, Valley, Lanett, Smiths Station, EMA and Auburn University.

Prayer Teams

Local churches and faith groups have begun prayer teams to pray specifically for EAMC patients, employees and physicians.  Some have joined together to provide a 24-hour prayer chain which began last night.  We greatly appreciate this wonderful expression of love toward everyone in our organization.  

Visitation Remains the Same

It has been one week since EAMC updated its visitor restrictions to help protect patients and staff.  Support from the community regarding this change has been positive.  However, because of misinformation on social media today regarding pediatric patients, we wanted to reiterate the current policy. 

NO VISITORS are allowed EXCEPT for:

• Pediatrics (2 primary caregivers)

• Level 2 Nursery (2 primary caregivers)

• Laboring women (1 primary support person)

• Emergency Department (1 visitor, ED lobby only)

• End-of-life circumstances

If the attending physician or nurse manager determines that a support person is needed, the family will be contacted to make such arrangements.  Also, NO VISITORS are allowed at Oak Park Nursing Home, the EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home or the Skilled Nursing Facility inside EAMC. 

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.

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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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