Aid coming to Huntsville small businesses, more patients being tested for COVID-19

Coronavirus

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – More people continue to be tested for COVID-19 with the Huntsville Hospital system as the pandemic continues.

Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said the hospital is continuing to be proactive in case there is a spike in coronavirus hospitalizations and has reduced the beds in use to 800, down from 1,200 last week. HH is also working with local surgery centers to reallocated as many respirators as possible for use at Huntsville Hospital should they be needed.

Of the 17 coronavirus cases in Madison County as of Monday morning, Spillers said two were in the Huntsville Hospital system. One patient was hospitalized at Huntsville Hospital and another was hospitalized at Madison Hospital.

According to Spillers, The Fever and Flu Clinic saw over 250 patients on Friday and 75 people were tested at the drive-thru coronavirus testing site at John Hunt Park. An additional 40 showed up, but had to be turned away because they didn’t have a doctor’s note for testing. Spillers said a physician is now on site to allow testing if needed.

Both sites are using a commercial lab, and they will continue to test as long as the lab can supply enough material to conduct the test.

Spillers was thankful for local support from local businesses who have stepped up to donate googles, masks, and other necessary material for internal use should it be needed.

Spillers reinforced the hospital is good on supplies as of Monday, but they are stockpiling in the event more patients come in.

Spillers said more people are being tested, and the hospital does expect the number of positive cases to go up. However, the number of positive cases relative to the number of tests remains low.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle reinforced the need for more stockers at Kroger and Publix, who are hiring to keep up with demand.

He also reminded the public of the Huntsville City Schools food program, which is currently taking place at four schools across the city. He also said public housing is working with the Food Bank of North Alabama to distribute food to the residents in those communities.

As Battle said before, the city is open; police are still working, the city is still issuing building permits and collecting garbage.

Battle said the recovery is day-to-day, week-to-week, and that the community should continue support local businesses by doing takeout every night if possible.

Battle said there may be some help coming from Washington. He was on a call with the Big 10 (mayors of the 10 largest cities in the state) and Senator Doug Jones. However, Battle said the city is working to take care of its own needs as much as possible.

He summarized the recovery plan by saying it will be a “test of endurance,” but “there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mary Ellen Judah from Huntsville-based Neighborhood Concepts spoke briefly on the 30-year history of the organization, which works to offer affordable housing and economic opportunity to the community.

Because so many businesses are in financial trouble, Neighborhood Concepts is offering an emergency line of credit to small businesses. You can find more details here.

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