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Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 4/10

Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 4/10

Testing and Confirmed Cases

To protect patient privacy, we have established a minimum threshold of five for reporting numbers of inpatients with laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

DCH internal counts as of noon on 4/10/20:

  • 11 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19.
  • Five or fewer inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.
  • Five or fewer inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.
  • 105 (cumulative) have tested positive for COVID-19 including individuals from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 2,386 (cumulative) have tested negative at DCH sites.

Is This Working?

So many measures, both in the community and in the hospitals, have been put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, but are they working? Only time will tell for sure, but here is an image showing a summary of what DCH has been tracking.

The first line shows the number of positive COVID-19 inpatients at DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center since March 30. The numbers have gone up but are holding pretty steady, and as you can see, some have been well enough to go home. In addition, so far there have been no days where more than five individuals with confirmed COVID-19 have been on ventilators or in the ICU.

This means we have been well within our capacity to manage the situation. It may also be an indication of information penetration. As we have all watched the spread of this virus, the level of knowledge of what to look for, when to seek care and how to treat the condition has increased and helped.

The second line shows a rapid increase of detected cases through DCH efforts, and the fourth shows a growing percentage of positives among those tested at DCH.

There are likely a number of reasons for this but here are a few thoughts. First, at the DCH testing site, switching to nasal swabs has produced more verifiable results. Second, the commercial labs we use are starting to get caught up, so the numbers have been rapidly increasing in the last few days. Had the labs not been so overloaded, the increase would have still been there, but it likely would have been more gradual. The end result, however, is still the same… more and more people are testing positive.

In summary, the good news is DCH has the capacity to deal with the current rate of infection and severity. In addition, on a daily basis new information is helping us to identify COVID-19 signs and enhance the treatment processes.

On the other end, while there is some sign of the curve flattening (in terms of inpatients), the virus is definitely still spreading. If ever there was a time to hold the course in terms of social distancing, sanitizing, hand washing, etc., it is now. It’s time to double down T-Town!  

Update on Masks from Sterilization Wrap

The first batch of community made masks made from medical-grade fabric was delivered to DCH materials management today. The DCH Foundation has been handing out packets of materials and receiving masks all week. Today they delivered the first batch of 750 community made masks to the hospital for distribution.

Over 250 community members and Mercedes-Benz US International (MBUSI is doing 2,000 masks) are working through supplies that should ultimately produce up to 15,000 masks. Each mask can be sterilized and reused up to 20 times.

The University of Florida Health piloted making masks out of the material with good results and produced two templates. Template type 1 is similar to a surgical mask (the version with pleats in the photo). Template type 2 is designed to replicate an N95 mask and create a tighter seal around the face. Finished masks will be used by healthcare providers.

We are amazed and thrilled by both the results so far and the outpouring of community support. Thank you again!

Severe Weather and Screening Weekend Hours

Reports for this Sunday indicate the possibility of bad weather including strong winds and potential tornadoes.

DCH had already planned to close its remote screening site this Sunday in observance of Easter.

The potential for bad weather reinforces the decision to close and provides all the more reason to stay home and stay safe.

DCH’s remote screening service, just west of its Regional Medical Center, will be open this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – noon.