Rising coronavirus numbers worry Huntsville leaders

There are currently more than one hundred people in the hospital system-wide.

Posted: Jul 13, 2020 8:33 PM

There are more than 200 coronavirus patients across the Huntsville Hospital system. More than half are in Madison county. David Spillers, hospital CEO, called the jump in numbers disturbing.

Spillers said he's growing more concerned by the day as the numbers are still rising here in Madison County. He said if something doesn't change, the hospital might not have all the resources it needs soon to treat patients when they show up sick.

"I am concerned a lot of people were not social distancing and not wearing masks over the 4th of July weekend. I think that will lead to more people who need testing and ultimately more people who have COVID," she said.

Spillers said he thinks coronavirus cases will jump even higher when people start getting sick from the July 4th weekend.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle echoed Spillers' concern.

"We just said we had a 150% increase from July 1st to today. We've got to stop that. We cannot continue to do in that manner, and we can't continue to put our population at risk because someone people don't want to follow the rules," he said.

Spillers said having more than 100 people hospitalized with coronavirus would put a strain on the hospital, and now the number has exceeded that in Madison County, and is more double that system-wide.

"I also said I would be concerned when the state started averaging more than 1,000 cases a day and we are well past that. Again, it's some math when you look at 1,500-2,000 cases a day the trickle down effect is a lot of hospitals are going to be full of COVID patients," he said.

Spillers explained treating a coronavirus patient takes 10 times the resources of a non-coronavirus patient, which means the impact on the hospital is similar to adding 2,000 additional non-COVID patients.

"The issue with COVID patients is they consume a lot of resources. Even though there are only 200 in the system and slightly over 100 in Madison county is they consume a lot of resources, they consume additional staffing," he said.

Spillers said scaling back the re-opening of the state, or closing some close contact businesses like bars and nightclubs might be what leaders need to look towards if the numbers don't get under control.

"If it continues to go like it's going, we are going to have to do more than we're doing," he said.

Spillers explained if everyone follows the masking order in Madison county and reiterated the social distancing and sanitizing he's been stressing since March, he thinks there is still time to turn this around.

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