DeKalb Regional Medical Center nears maximum capacity in ICU as COVID-19 numbers rise


DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – DeKalb County has returned to the very high risk for the spread of COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

The agency’s coronavirus data and surveillance dashboard shows that nearly 750 people have tested positive within the last two weeks.

More than 100 positive results were registered since Saturday.

DeKalb Regional Medical Center’s Employee Health/Infection Control Coordinator Aimee Haygood told News 19 there are 12 people battling COVID-19 at the hospital as of Tuesday afternoon.

She said 10 of the 12 ICU beds are full, but only four are taken by coronavirus patients.

None are on ventilators.

The growing number of coronavirus cases is a concern for DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow

“It’s always a concern for us when we see we have a limited number of ICU beds and then now most of them are full because you never know about an accident,” said Harcrow.

He is back in the office after previously testing positive for the coronavirus.

“I might have felt bad one day, but I would have never known anything about it had I not tested positive. I was never very sick with it. The hard part was being quarantined,” added Harcrow.

Harcrow’s symptoms were mild but families and friends of the 35 people who have died in the county from COVID-19, know it can be much more serious.

“I have a graveside service tomorrow of a lady just over  in the next county who passed away from COVID. It affects different people in different ways,” said Harcrow.

He told News 19 that he is proud of the community members he still sees wearing their masks and fighting to slow the spread, but with several major holidays coming up, there may be another big spike.

“We had a spike after the 4th of July from people getting together. We had another spike at Labor Day and so with Thanksgiving coming up and then a month later with Christmas coming up, then New Years coming up. From now, from the first of the year we’re going to have to be extremely careful because if that’s the pattern, we’re going to see a continual spike in these particular holiday seasons,” explained Harcrow.

DeKalb Regional Medical Center’s Haygood said they have created additional capacity if a patient surge occurs at the hospital.

She also explained that they are not experiencing any shortages of personal protective equipment.

Visitation is still restricted and workers are asked to stay home if they are not feeling well.

Haygood told News 19 it is important for people to continue practicing social distancing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home if possible, washing hands and wearing a mask.

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