Jackson Co. Commission Chairman: 2 Highlands Medical Center nurses diagnosed with coronavirus

WAAY31 has new information on the four hospital employees who tested positive for coronavirus at the Highlands Medical Center in Jackson County.

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 9:40 PM
Updated: Mar 31, 2020 10:46 PM

WAAY 31 has new information on the four hospital employees who tested positive for coronavirus at the Highlands Medical Center in Jackson County.

Tim Guffey, chairman of the Jackson County Commission, said two of the four employees are nurses at the hospital. The specific roles of the other two employees are unknown. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health counts eight total coronavirus cases in Jackson County, but Guffey says it does not include all four of the hospital employees. 

WAAY31 reached out to the hospital directly but they would not release any information about the employees. Hospital officials do say all four employees are self-quarantined at home and are not being held at the hospital.

They also tested many other employees for the coronavirus, all of those tests have come back negative. Guffey says anyone who could have potentially been exposed or in contact with the four hospital employees has been contacted.

The hospital is screening anyone who comes into the facility, checking their temperature and evaluating any symptoms. Guffey says they have a shortage of gowns, and enough masks to last for about a week.

If you have any supplies you'd like to donate, call 256-695-8460.

Below is a statement from Highlands Medical Center:

Our goal is for no one to be infected on our staff, but do anticipate those on the front lines could contract the virus in the community or from providing patient care. This risk is especially heightened during a pandemic of a new virus. While our team members are taking every precaution to protect against exposure, four of our team members have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We are following the protocols with our staff just as with our patients, and all of these team members are quarantined and self-monitoring at home. None of them are in the hospital. We are following strict guidelines from the Alabama Department of Public Health for patients testing positive for the virus, and have connected with staff and any persons who came in contact with them.

Because some people with the virus may not show symptoms for 2 – 14 days after being exposed, we screen everyone who comes through the door and treat every patient as though they have been exposed. We have also been taking the temperature of every employee multiple times during their shift for some time now.

We understand what it takes to care for patients with infectious diseases, and are very thankful to have caring and talented people on the front lines who are willing to be there for our patients and community. We salute these local heroes for their commitment and dedication to caring for others.

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