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Hospital officials still concerned despite drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations
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Hospital officials still concerned despite drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations

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East Alabama Medical Center released this graphic Monday showing the total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at its campuses. 

East Alabama Medical Center saw a decline in the number of COVID-19 patients, but hospital officials are still concerned about the number of people hospitalized.

There were 46 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at EAMC on Monday, the lowest number of patients since July 17, according to hospital data.

Despite the decline in patients hospitalized, EAMC spokesman John Atkinson says the number shows how fast the virus can spread.

“We started July with 24 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and only one on a ventilator,” he said. “Exactly three weeks later, on July 22, we had 62 patients with COVID-19 and eight on ventilators. That shows you how quickly this virus can get out of hand. And why we must respect it.”

EAMC attributes the decline in COVID-19 patients to a mixture of fewer admissions as well as patients who have been discharged home to recover. Deaths of COVID-19 patients, such as Lee County Commissioner Johnny Lawrence who passed was Friday, also play a role in the decline of patients.

“This virus has been extremely taxing on patients and staff alike,” Atkinson said. “We grieve when a patient is lost. We know it is heartbreaking for the families, and our doctors and staff take it very personal as well.”

Local numbers

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) continues to confirm new COVID-19 cases in east Alabama counties.

There were 821 confirmed cases in Chambers County, 2,505 in Lee County, 309 in Macon County, 1,233 in Russell County and 814 in Tallapoosa County as of Monday evening, according to ADPH.

Lee County still is averaging the most new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks in east Alabama with about 30 new cases per day despite a continued downward trend, according to ADPH data.

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

  • Chambers County — 6
  • Macon County — 2
  • Russell County — 21
  • Tallapoosa County — 7

There were 89,927 confirmed cases and 1,580 virus-related deaths in Alabama as of Monday night, according to ADPH.

Of the 1,580 reported deaths, 38 are from Chambers County, 40 from Lee County, 13 from Macon County, one from Russell County and 78 from Tallapoosa County.

EAMC update

EAMC continues to see the positive effects of Alabama’s statewide mask mandate.

“For the week of July 20-24, EAMC’s 528-SICK call center saw 3,532 calls, but the volume dropped to 2,274 for July 27-31,” EAMC said in a news release.

The testing volumes also dipped from 749 in the first week after the mandate to 612 last week. The number of positive cases also declined from 127 to 93, EAMC said.

EAMC also reminds college students who are required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus that it cannot test them through its 334-528-SICK call center.

Students may visit dedicated testing sites to meet the requirement, which are located throughout the state. A testing site at Auburn’s Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum will begin testing on Tuesday. Students must have an appointment to be tested.

“This virus has been extremely taxing on patients and staff alike.”

- EAMC spokesman John Atkinson

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