COVID Hospitalizations Increasing Quickly
On Christmas Day, only 10 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized in our East Alabama Health system. Today, less than a full week later, our COVID hospitalizations are at 34, the highest total since October 6. Furthermore, our overall patient census as of this morning was high, at 283, with additional patients waiting in our Emergency Departments to be assigned a hospital bed.
Emergency Departments Use Should Be Limited to Emergencies
More than one-third of the visits to our three Emergency Departments (EDs) the past 7-10 days have been for COVID-related symptoms, including 126 out of 291 yesterday. This is creating a difficult situation for staff and non-COVID patients alike. While COVID positivity rates have ranged between 25-45 percent this week, testing through the EDs should be limited to patients who are experiencing symptoms that are not manageable with over-the-counter medicines and who could require hospitalization.
East Alabama Health officials ask that residents please use the Emergency Departments for true medical emergencies.
If you suspect you have COVID and have any of the more severe symptoms listed below, please seek medical attention immediately:
•persistent pain or pressure in the chest
•inability to wake or stay awake
•bluish lips or face
However, if you suspect you may have COVID, but have minor symptoms, please contact your primary health care provider or an urgent care facility for a COVID test. Please know that many of these facilities are also seeing high volumes and so treating the symptoms at home, regardless of a positive test, with over-the-counter medications is advised unless you have the symptoms listed above.
Caution Encouraged for Pregnant Women
Women who are pregnant are reminded that COVID-19 should be taken very seriously. Of the eight women who were in our Labor and Delivery department earlier today, four of them were positive with COVID.
We saw an increase in younger populations with the Delta variant, including some pregnant women who suffered greatly due to COVID and had to be ventilated. The level of severity from Omicron is still somewhat uncertain, so hospital officials are asking pregnant women to quarantine as much as possible—especially within two weeks of their due date—and to wear a mask whenever they are unable to practice social distancing, including with family members.