Marshall Medical Centers prepare for potential spike in COVID-19 cases

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala.- The number of COVID-19 cases in Marshall County is steadily increasing and hospitals are preparing to manage the uptick.

Marshall Medical Centers have two hospitals; one in Guntersville near Arab, and another in Boaz. They serve about 125,000 people on Sand Mountain. Hospital employees have been making plans on how to deal with an increase in cases for the last few weeks.

Marshall Medical Centers North ER director Audra Ford told WHNT News 19 that they have been seeing cases but none that are considered critical care. They have created pods at the emergency department to keep those dealing with respiratory illnesses in one pod, away from others dealing with different issues.

“We are affiliated with Huntsville Hospital, so we may see increased numbers from patients coming out of Madison County, for example, that need to be cared for in a hospital setting that we will take care of,” said Ford. “We’ve been on front lines being prepared to take care of Marshall County. Again, I really hope that Marshall County doesn’t see such a huge hospitalized population that we’re starting to see in some of the other areas, but we are ready for that if that occurs, as far as our surge plans and establishing alternate care sites.”

If needed, empty doctor spaces, classrooms, or even their sleep lab facility could be used as alternate care sites, but only after the centers use up all available space.

Ford added that they do have enough supplies and staff members for the foreseeable future.

“We’re trying very hard to keep our supplies under control. We are being somewhat conservative if you will, with some of the supplies. You want to be protected but yet you don’t want to be wasteful either. There’s a lot of good ideas going around about ways to sterilize and reuse N95 masks and we have had a ton of donations at Marshall, so we have been very blessed with that,” Ford said.

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