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DCH Coronavirus Update 8-7-20

DCH Coronavirus Update 8-7-20

Average Length of Stay among COVID-19 Positive Patients

When you are in the hospital you often have IV lines inserted, catheters, ventilator tubes and much more. These points of entry present risks for infection. Usually, the less time you are on them, the better.

One measure of the severity of illness is known as patient length of stay or how long a patient is in the hospital. A lower number is usually better for patients.

Average length of stay (the average of many patient stays combined), or ALOS, is also a measure of hospital efficiency and capacity. For example, a lower ALOS usually means rooms are available sooner and more patients can be treated.

Shown here are the ALOS numbers for patients at DCH who have tested positive for COVID-19. To provide some context, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the national average for length of stay for non-COVID-19 positive patients is 4.6 days (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Statistical Brief #246). The numbers in the following charts are average days and do not represent numbers of individuals.


Following is an update on the demographics of the COVID-19 positive (unique) inpatient population. A unique positive is anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 at a DCH location, but only the first test result is included. Unique negatives would be anyone who tested negative (counted only once).

In the included chart of demographics, the one in the top left shows all of the unique positives found and the result, if known. Red equals deceased and on the chart represents 5 percent of the positives to date. Dark blue represents those who were positive for COVID-19, needed hospitalization and were later well enough to be discharged. That group is 21.6 percent of the positives. Gray is at 3.1 percent and indicates those who are positive and currently inpatients. Light blue represents those who tested positive but did not need inpatient care (at least not at DCH). That group equals 70.6 percent. Those who have died while positive for COVID-19 equal 4.7 percent.

For gender, the breakdown is as follows:


- Deceased, 4 percent

- Discharged, 23.2 percent

- Current Inpatient, 2.5 percent

- Outpatient (no known care needed), 70.3 percent


- Deceased, 5.6 percent

- Discharged, 19.7 percent

- Current Inpatient, 3.8 percent

- Outpatient (no known care needed), 70.9 percent

Under race, the numbers are similar to what has been previously shown, but with the addition of the light blue bars. This indicates most of those who have tested positive have not needed care.

Finally, the bottom left shows the breakdown by age.

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 2:20 p.m. on 8/7/20:

  • 84 inpatients are being treated for COVID-19.
  • 24 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.
  • 8 who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.
  • 2,439 (cumulative) unique positives for COVID-19 tests including results from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 15,981 (cumulative) unique negatives for COVID-19 at DCH sites.
  • 3,159 (cumulative) positive COVID-19 at DCH sites. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 21,115 (cumulative) negative tests at DCH sites.
  • 628 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have been discharged.
  • 128 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.
  • 71 Tuscaloosa County residents (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died (per the Alabama Department of Public Health).