HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Leaders from Madison County gave an update on the county’s response to COVID-19 Saturday afternoon.
Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers:
Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said there were only four patients in Huntsville Hospital with coronavirus, down from a peak of 13. He also confirmed two patients were a Crestwood Medical Center.
Testing-wise, Spillers said only 250 people were tested across the region Friday, with 175 in Madison County, down from a peak of 400.
75 of those were at the Fever and Flu Clinic, which has a maximum capacity of 200.
50 members of the homeless population were tested and the hospital plans to continue doing it every day next week.
The hotspot, according to Spillers is in Marshall County, where there were 70 cases as of Saturday, with an upward trend reported.
There are two Huntsville Hospital facilities in the county – Albertville and Boaz, where one patient was discharged yesterday, leaving just two coronavirus patients in the facilities.
Spillers also reported supplies and morale continue to be good.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley:
Madison Mayor Paul Finley reminded the public to be wary of coronavirus scams, such as false test kits, especially with the stimulus checks coming soon.
Spillers said Huntsville Hospital looked at several projections for coronavirus and used those methodologies to create their own. Spillers said the numbers are not going up as expected and said as long as people keep distancing he doesn’t expect there to be a surge of patients. Spillers also said the hospital is hoping to give everyone reusable masks next week, clinical areas already have all the protective equipment they need.
Spillers also addressed the layoffs at Huntsville Hospital, saying a drop in patients has translated to reduced staffing – the hospital is seeing half of the normal patient load and all outpatient facilities are shut.
Spillers said 2,000 of the hospital’s 15,000 staff are affected, and they are being allowed to use PTO or apply for unemployment.
As far as severe weather is concerned, Huntsville-Madison County EMA Director Jeff Birdwell said much of the same policies are being followed and they will activate the emergency operations center if needed.
Spillers said while elective surgeries could be done now, the hospital wants to hold supplies in case hotspots pop up locally and across the state. He said there will likely be a transition period back into normal operations and there will likely be a period where employees will still distance and wear masks.
Huntsville Hospital will be talking to hospitals around the state to make sure everybody is ready, and Spillers added the decision to resume normal operations will likely be a statewide effort.