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DCH Coronavirus Update 8-17-20

DCH Coronavirus Update 8-17-20

DCH Awards BSN Scholarships to Nursing Students

DCH is helping secure the future of our next generation of nurses.

Congratulations to nine nursing students who have recently received DCH scholarships as they pursue bachelor of science in nursing degrees.

Eight of the recipients are attending The University of Alabama’s Capstone College of Nursing. You can read more and view their photos here

The ninth student, Janelle Ruffin, is attending Troy University. Congratulations to all of these students. We are excited for their futures and for the opportunity to work with each of them.

New Treatment Option and Tracking

Over time treatment options for COVID-19 patients have evolved as we have learned more about the virus. One thing we learned very quickly is that the virus impacts the lungs, which inhibits oxygen transmission to the blood. Blood oxygen levels for COVID-19 positive patients are usually low, so oxygen delivery for these patients is critical.

One of the initial lines of defense is through a face mask that delivers a higher percentage of oxygen than would be found in normal air. A face mask provides passive delivery, meaning the patient would need to be able to breathe in and out on his own.

Until very recently, the next step would be to intubate or place a breathing tube down a patient’s throat and force oxygenated air in. Intubation comes with inherent risks, so ideally it is only used when absolutely necessary.

An alternative, intermediate treatment is being used more and more for COVID-19 patients. It is called BiPAP or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure.

A BiPAP usually consists of a mask that provides pressurized air both as you breathe in and as you breathe out. This pressurization is higher when you breathe in, but both phases of the pressurization help keep the airway open and help the lungs to fill fully with oxygen-rich air. It has fewer risks than intubation.

Because this treatment is becoming more common for COVID-19 patients, it is now being included in the daily dashboard to help further clarify the severity of the patients being treated. The green line on the dashboard is all COVID-19 positive patients currently being treated at DCH. The dark blue line is a subset of the green line and represents those who are in the ICU. The red line is a subset of those who are in the ICU and represents those who are on ventilators. Individuals on BiPAP, shown in yellow, may not be in the ICU but are not a subset of those on ventilators because you can only be on one or the other.

Testing and Confirmed Cases

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

DCH internal counts as of 3:20 p.m. on 8/17/20:

  • 66 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19.
  • 20 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.
  • 10 who are positive for COVID-19 are on a BiPAP.
  • Five or fewer who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.
  • 2,654 (cumulative) unique positives for COVID-19 tests including results from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 17,192 (cumulative) unique negatives for COVID-19 at DCH sites.
  • 3,451 (cumulative) positive COVID-19 at DCH sites. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 23,271 (cumulative) negative tests at DCH sites.
  • 717 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have been discharged.
  • 141 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died at DCH. This is not an indication of the cause of death, only that the individuals were positive for COVID-19 at the time of death.
  • 85 Tuscaloosa County residents (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died (per the Alabama Department of Public Health).