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DCH Coronavirus Update 12-18-20

DCH Coronavirus Update 12-18-20

Champions Behind the Scenes

Many years ago, I (Andy North) had several opportunities through a prior employer to accompany some incredible caregivers to Guatemala on medical missions. Each day we would get up very early, pack up a huge amount of gear and head off into the mountains to some remote village. We would set up a little clinic and provide the most basic of medical care and train locals on how to do the same. I helped run the clinic, did a lot of interpreting for the providers, took pictures and wrote daily blog updates for everyone back home.

The patient lines were long, and the work was exhausting but rewarding. Often times we would get back well after dark and have little desire to do much more than collapse into bed.

When I first agreed to participate, I had this vision of hard-working and kindhearted physicians and nurses. They certainly lived up to those perceptions and more. However, what I did not anticipate was all the behind-the-scenes work of everyone else.

For example, our first day in the country started with everyone pitching in to help the pharmacist to unpack, categorize and prepare the medications for the upcoming work. It was a huge job that never seemed to end. Every morning they had to plan what was needed and pack it up, then unpack it again at the site.

They regularly acted as consultants to the providers, and I quickly learned that the pharmacy room was the center of all clinic activity. At the end of the day, the pharmacist was always the last one out the door and the hardest to get for a brief interview because she was getting everything ready for the next day.

Then there was the physical therapist with all of her gear. Despite all the planning, inevitably there was a need beyond the means of the person or the resources available. And so she would use everyday items to help invent therapy tools. I clearly remember a small crowd cheering one day as a little grinning girl was suddenly able to zoom along with an improvised walker made out of a bucket.

A core lesson from those clinics was that it is not the technology or buildings that make the biggest difference (though those things certainly help), but rather it is the tenacity, creativity, knowledge and compassion of everyone, from those providing bedside care to those maintaining the facilities, cleaning up or managing medications. Every piece is critical.

To the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and everyone else at the bedside, we are grateful for all that you have done for this community. To all the pharmacists, laboratory techs, therapists, supply purchasers, nutritionists, transporters, housekeepers, HR employees, security and every other component that makes this care possible, we see you as well and know this work would not be possible without you. We thank you for your quiet, behind-the-scenes dedication to being champions for the health of this community.

Remote Site Testing and Vaccination Holiday Hours

DCH’s COVID-19 screening and testing and vaccination service at its remote site in the Laundry Lot just west of DCH Regional Medical Center will be closed next Thursday and Friday (December 24 and 25) for the Christmas holiday as well as Friday (January 1) of the following week for New Year’s. The following week the site will be back to its regular hours, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m.–Noon for testing and Monday through Friday, by appointment, for vaccinations.

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 Health System internal counts as of 2:43 p.m. on 12/18/20:

  • 155 inpatients within the DCH system who are positive for COVID-19.
  • 29 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.
  • 11 who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.
  • 9 who are positive for COVID-19 are on a BiPAP.
  • 5,993 (cumulative) unique positives for COVID-19 tests including results from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 31,558 (cumulative) unique negatives for COVID-19 at DCH sites.
  • 7,277 (cumulative) positive COVID-19 at DCH sites. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 53,294 (cumulative) negative tests at DCH sites.
  • 1,765 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have been discharged.
  • 312 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.
  • 147 Tuscaloosa County residents (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died (per the Alabama Department of Public Health).