Chairman Dale Strong: People know what’s at stake, as White House predicts more than 100,000 virus deaths


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The White House projected between 100,000 to 240,000 people could die in the United States from the coronavirus. Madison County leaders said today they believe people recognize the seriousness of the situation.

“I think the people understand what’s at stake. I think that we’re doing everything possible to stop the progression of this. I think that our healthcare workers and our first responders on the frontline are doing a phenomenal job,” said Madison County Chairman Dale Strong.

“At this point, I think every community in the country needs to really focus on the area that they can control and the things they can control to try to minimize the impact on that community,” Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said. “I think we’re doing that, I think we need to continue to do that. Hopefully, they’ll be wrong. Hopefully, that number will be far less than that. I would not be surprised by that number.”

Spillers said 400 people were tested in Madison County Tuesday. A total of 6,198 patients have been tested across system hospitals with a current 2.4 percent positive rate in North Alabama. Madison County has eight in-patients, none are on ventilators, according to Spillers. He added five in-patients have been discharged.

There are currently 44 patients in Madison County hospitals with cases under investigation — that is, people waiting for tests — and Spillers said that number has stayed pretty consistent as patients cycle in and out.

Spillers also updated an issue he had complained about on Monday.

The problem, he said Monday, was that Huntsville Hospital has the ability to conduct testing in its own lab, but was not being provided needed equipment from vendor Roche Diagnostics Corp. After Monday’s press briefing Roche told WHNT News 19 it was addressing the issue.

Spillers said today, “Roche stepped up” and the Huntsville Hospital lab will be able to begin in-house lab work on the COVID-19 samples starting Monday. Spillers said he expects they can test 200 samples a day, with patients getting results within 24 hours.

Spillers said a new policy will be implemented at Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center requiring anyone in the hospitals to wear a mask. He said they are acquiring the masks to start enforcing the policy. He added Toyota will help produce face shields for hospitals and health care workers.

Huntsville Census Liaison Connie Graham reminded the community Wednesday marked Census Day. She encouraged people to fill out the form online. The deadline to complete the questionnaire was pushed back to August 14.

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