• 72°

EAMC approaching five months since first COVID-19 patient

This Sunday, Aug 16, marks five full months since EAMC received its first patient with COVID-19 who needed hospitalization. Less than one month later, on April 11, EAMC had reached a peak of 54 hospitalized patients with positive cases of COVID-19 and had as many as 22 patients on a ventilator at one point.

 Thanks to a stay-at-home order from Governor Kay Ivey, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations declined at EAMC, reaching a low of 15 patients on May 23—and only one of them on a ventilator.  However, other counties in Alabama replaced Lee and Chambers counties as hot spots as Alabama re-opened its economy on May 1. 

 On May 4, EAMC had 35 COVID-19 hospitalizations. And on July 4, the COVID-19 hospitalization census was 34. Those numbers served as high-water bookends to a two-month period that saw COVID-19 hospitalizations routinely between 20-25. In fact, the average over that 62-day stretch was 21.48 patients per day. Furthermore, 54 of those 62 days had 4 or fewer COVID patients on ventilators

 On July 5, EAMC’s COVID-19 census rose to 41 and peaked at 62 just 17 days later.  Between July 5 – Aug 14, the average daily census has been 45.85 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In fact, only 10 of those 41 days have seen EAMC with a daily COVID census under 40.

 “Those are a lot of numbers to consider,” says John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman. “Basically, we started out with a lot of hospitalizations, and then people understood the severity of the situation and either self-isolated or followed the stay-at-home order. Then, the economy re-opened, but it was a soft opening with only a few businesses and few employees.”

 Atkinson says May and June were both manageable but believes many contributing factors led to the increase since early July. “We believe a lot of people are experiencing ‘COVID fatigue,’ and rightfully so. And not just people around here. It’s been a long 5-6 months for the United States. There’s probably a feeling of ‘I’m no longer going to let COVID-19 dictate my life,’ and so people have ventured out more and perhaps become a little complacent in their precautionary measures. 

 “Also, there are more people working now and activities have returned. Plus, people took summer vacations and enjoyed weekends at the lake, and had family gatherings. None of that is bad. We want—and need—to get back into a routine. We’re slowly returning to a manageable number of COVID hospitalizations as the graph shows. We just have to be smart about social distancing and wearing a mask when we are unable to keep that six feet of distance from others, even when it’s with extended family or close friends.”