Huntsville Hospital CEO: COVID patient overflow causing cascading delays

Coronavirus

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville-area COVID-19 team gave an update on the current state for Huntsville and Madison County.

Jeff Birdwell, Huntsville-Madison County EMA Director, Jeff Samz, Huntsville Hospital CEO, Dr. Aruna Arora, Madison County Medical Society President, and Tim Hall, Madison County Schools Director of Public Relations spoke at the meeting.

Birdwell began the meeting with the latest COVID-19 case numbers in Madison County. Since the pandemic began there have been 757,893 positive cases in the state, with 47,738 cases in Madison County. 562 people have died from COVID-19 in the county.

Currently, there is a 19.7% positivity rate in Madison County.

Huntsville Hospital CEO Jeff Samz says they have seen a slight decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Currently, there are 184 in-patients in their system with an additional 37 in-patients at Crestwood Hospital. 49 of those patients at Huntsville Hospitals are in the ICU and 37 are on a ventilator.

“We’re very pleased to see this modest decline, and we hope it means we’re passing the peak of the surge, there’s still a lot of stress on the health care system, but it’s the first day where I have felt like perhaps we’re, we’re rounding the curve,” said Jeff Samz.

Samz says that is approximately a 10% decline from previous numbers, but the numbers are still overwhelming hospitals.

“All of the staffed hospital beds are full in our healthcare system. We are routinely holding 50 to 100 admissions in the E.R.” said Samz. “When the hospital staffed beds are full, and the E.R.s are holding that number of patients, there aren’t as many E.R. rooms for ambulances and people who may walk in the lobby. You may experience longer waits in the E.R. waiting rooms and that can cause delays for EMS waiting to unload their trucks because they are waiting on a room to open up so they have a place to put the patient. Just an example of the cascading delays that occur.”

Madison County area health leaders will hold their next briefing on Wednesday, September 22 at noon.

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