With 4 possible coronavirus cases in Morgan County, hospital steps up protocols

Decatur Morgan Hospital is working with Morgan County officials on drive through coronavirus testing locations.

Posted: Mar 16, 2020 8:28 PM

Coronavirus could be spreading in North Alabama.

"There's currently 4 patients under investigation as we speak," said Nat Richardson, President of Decatur Morgan Hospital.

On Monday afternoon, we are waiting for the test results of those Morgan County patients with coronavirus-like symptoms.

Decatur and Morgan County officials briefed the public on how their task force will respond if there are cases of coronavirus in the area.

There are no confirmed cases yet in Morgan County, officials here said they are trying to plan ahead.

"We're doing everything we can do to be prepared as we can be," said Eddie Hicks, Morgan County EMA Director.

Chairman for the Morgan County Commission said, "this thing is changing rapidly. We really don't know all we need to know about it and won't know at this time next week".

No positive coronavirus cases in Morgan County yet, but city and county officials are trying to get ahead of any possible cases in the area.

"I'm not worried. I'm one of those that's kinda optimistic about things like this," said Johnnie Franklin.

Franklin attended Monday's meeting in Decatur. She used to be a nurse at the Decatur Morgan County Hospital. After years of working during several health outbreaks, she told me she thinks the coronavirus is worse.

"I think it is a little worse and people are taking it worse but i'm praying they get better," says Franklin.

We asked Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling after the briefing if he will consider shutting down restaurants if cases are confirmed. He told us he will follow what the Vice Pesident of the United States says.

"All of these precautions that everyone is doing now will make this a lot lesser of an event then what it could be," said Hicks.

The test results of these 4 patients will be available in 24 to 48 hours. We don't know when the specimens were collected but were sent to a Montgomery lab over the weekend.

The Decatur Morgan Hospital is following protocol to make sure the facility is secure and protecting anyone who comes in and out.

Morgan County officials told us at their coronvirus briefing they will be bringing drive through testing locations to the area.

The hospital is working with county officials to find locations for this type of testing in Morgan County.

A spokesperson for the Decatur Morgan Hospital told us Monday they're waiting for direction from the Huntsville Hospital system.

"We have identified a couple of spaces that we could provide that off testing at. We have not confirmed it but we are talking about it now," said RIchardson.

As for the the hospital's facility, they told us in a briefing today they are ready and equipped to take care of patients who are showing coronavirus-like symptoms. Hospital workers are limiting the number of guests in the hospital.

They are also working to control all access points into the hospital and determining which doors need to be locked to limit the amount of people coming in.

Decatur Morgan Hospital says they plan on updating their protocols on a daily basis and they are following CDC and Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines every day.

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