The Athens-Limestone Hospital told WAAY 31 it’s prepared to deal with an increased number of staff contracting the coronavirus.
"We have enough reserved capacity, I think that we will be able to accommodate," Dr. Nauman Qureshi, the hospital's coronavirus spokesperson, said.
Qureshi said 13 employees tested positive so far at the Athens-Limestone facility. He said the hospital is working to keep specific staff members safe because their jobs are particularly hard to fill. He said while things are fine right now, there could be concerns if certain doctors and nurses get sick.
"It's like the respiratory therapists, where we are always watching. It's the ICU nurses because these are skilled people and you cannot just take somebody else and put them in their place," Qureshi said.
Qureshi said with school set to begin in a few weeks, he knows some of his staff who are parents will send their children back, while others need to stay home to help with virtual learning. He said he thinks as long as everybody does their part to stay safe they won't even have to worry about low staffing levels or a higher number of inpatients
"If we could get help on the front end, you know, where people wear masks and don't raise a fuss about it - it's just a very small sacrifice that can prevent a big disaster that can happen down the road in terms of our hospitals, our staff," he said.
According to Qureshi, as of right now the hospital is not running low on ICU beds or ventilators and hopes schools re-opening doesn't bring more patients to the hospital, but it’s prepared if that happens.