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EAMC working toward news visitation policy as hospitalizations stabilize

EAMC working toward news visitation policy as hospitalizations stabilize


East Alabama Medical Center is working on a plan to provide for a limited return of hospital visitations as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to hover at about 30.

“We know how important visitation is both for patients and their family members,” John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman, said. “It’s also important for physicians and staff members as it helps with communication regarding the patient’s condition and treatment.”

EAMC implemented its no visitors police on March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic reaching Lee County. When the policy was put into place, Lee County had 10 cases of the virus and the hospital had two virus patients hospitalized, the hospital said.

There were 30 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at EAMC on Friday, down from Thursday’s total of 34 and Wednesday’s total of 32. Additionally, three patients required ventilation, according to hospital data.

“It’s strange to look back and see what the numbers were then and compare them to today’s numbers,” Atkinson said. “However, it was definitely the right call to stop visitation at the time because of how quickly COVID-19 was spreading and how little America knew about the virus at the time. It’s scary to think about how bad things could have gotten if visitation and other spread-reduction plans had not been implemented.”

The visitation plan that hospital officials are working on will not be an open visitation policy similar to the one in place before COVID-19.

“The details are being worked out, but visitation will still be limited compared to pre-COVID visitation,” said Atkinson. “This is to protect patients and staff, and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Plans are to gradually implement the visitation guidelines over the next few weeks.”

Local numbers

Lee County saw a large increase in new COVID-19 cases reported in the county on Thursday, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Lee County has 60 new confirmed and 39 new probable virus cases. There were 3,862 confirmed virus cases and 2,025 probable cases for a combined total of 5,887 virus cases in Lee County as of Friday night.

The number of new confirmed cases in Lee County reported Thursday were double the number reported Wednesday and the number of new probable cases was triple the number reported Wednesday.

Lee County’s average of new cases confirmed per day, excluding probable cases, during the past two weeks rose Friday to 36. The average on Thursday was 18, according to ADPH data. The county is also averaging about 41 new virus cases, both confirmed and probable, per day during the past week, according to Bama Tracker, an independent online COVID-19 database.

Chambers County added nine new confirmed cases and eight probable cases and Russell County added 13 new confirmed cases and one new probable case. Tallapoosa County added 10 new confirmed cases and four probable cases and Macon County added one new confirmed case and one probable case Thursday, according to ADPH data.

The following is a look at the total number of confirmed cases, probable cases and combined total cases for other east Alabama counties:

  • Chambers County – 893 confirmed, 268 probable, 1,161 combined
  • Macon County – 430 confirmed, 51 probable, 481 combined
  • Russell County – 1,649 confirmed, 108 probable, 1,757 combined
  • Tallapoosa County – 983 confirmed, 173 probable, 1,156 combined

The following is the average number of new confirmed cases, excluding probable cases, in east Alabama counties over the past 14 days:

  • Chambers County — 5
  • Macon County — 1
  • Russell County — 6
  • Tallapoosa County — 4

There were 134,231 confirmed cases, 16,427 probable cases and 2,357 virus-related deaths in Alabama as of Friday night, according to ADPH. The combined total of virus cases in the state was 150,658.

Of the 2,357 reported deaths, 40 are from Chambers County, 49 from Lee County, 17 from Macon County, three from Russell County and 84 from Tallapoosa County.

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