Decatur-Morgan Hospital reports more COVID-19 patients, mayor asks state for help with masking rules


DECATUR, Ala. – As cases continue to rise in Morgan County, officials called for help from the state Monday morning.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling reminded everyone of the city’s resolution encouraging mask wearing across the city and encouraged everyone to contact city hall by phone or email before coming in, citing Monday’s report of 1,102 cases of COVID-19 in Morgan County, a 20-percent increase in the last week.

Mayor Bowling also called on Governor Kay Ivey to add a provision in the safer at home order regarding masks. “She could very easily add one sentence that covers masking for the state, and not put that on municipalities where it would be very challenging to enforce.”

Morgan County Commission Chair Ray Long said the mask program at courthouse is going good, and 95% of the people without masks are taking one provided by the county. He also reminded everyone masks are required in courtrooms and encouraged people to renew tags online.

Chief Nursing Officer Anita Walden from Decatur-Morgan Hospital gave statistics on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at both at Decatur-Morgan Hospital and statewide.

Walden said the hospital has seen an uptick in new COVID-19 cases per day since May. The last week of May, the hospital saw eight or nine cases per day on average. By the first week of June, those numbers doubled, and for the last three weeks, the hospital has now seen around 20 cases per day, with the most being 26.

According to Walden, COVID-19 patients in the hospital jumped 12-13% from April-May, 12.5% from May-June, and 18% from June 25-July 2.

Walden also reported 1,518 people have been tested for COVID-19 at Decatur-Morgan Hospital with 178 positive. 23 of those were inpatients, with 19 additional inpatients awaiting results. 2 patients were on a ventilator, and Walden said it’s a last resort for patients experiencing the worst symptoms.

At the fever and flu clinic in Hartselle, Walden said 745 people have been tested, 26 of which came back positive, with several tests still pending.

The hospital is seeing 20% fewer patients for regular visits, but elective surgeries are back to normal volumes. Visitation at the hsopital remians limited:

  • Regular patients are allowed a caregiver
  • Patients in labor/delivery are allowed a support person
  • Children are allowed a guardian

All staff in the hospital are required to wear a face covering – surgical masks in general patient care areas, and an N95 in areas with COVID-19 patients.

Statewide, Walden reported 11.9-12% of COVID-19 tests are consistently coming back positive. COVID-19 patients in the hospital jumped 12-13% from April-May, 12.5% from May-June, and 18% from June 25-July 2.

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