WAAY 31 learned 34 people are hospitalized with coronavirus in Madison County as of Thursday morning.
That's 11 additional patients since Monday.
David Spillers, Huntsville Hopsital CEO, said we need stop the numbers from growing.
"If it doesn't slow down fairly significantly soon, it's going to get out of control for this area and the rest of the state," he said.
Spillers said there are now 87 patients hospitalized in the Huntsville Hospital system across North Alabama.
He explained treating one coronavirus patient requires the same amount of resources as treating 10 regular patients. If the rise in cases doesn't slow down, he said the hospital might not have room for people who get sick.
"Are we willing to do what it takes to keep this from spreading, or are we just going to let it run rampant? If we let it run rampant for too long, then I can't promise people when they need a hospital bed they're going to have one or if they need a nurse there is going to be one available," he said.
Thursday afternoon, Spillers rang the alarm bell for North Alabama. Hours earlier, the state announced a new record for new coronavirus cases in a day with more than 1,100. Sixty-five of those are in Madison County.
"It's very concerning. We've seen a substantial rise here in Madison County. We have seen the number of those patients in our hospital rise to a fairly significant level, so we're concerned to say the least at the growing number of patients," he said.
Spillers said the 34 patients who are hospitalized in Madison County are the most seen since the virus hit North Alabama.
"Most of our beds are full and most of our nurses and clinical staff are busy taking care of patients," he said.
Spillers explained everyone needs to listen to the message he started issuing in March.
"It goes back to the original message. Separate, sanitize, and cover your face, please. Let's try to limit the spread of this disease before it gets out of hand. We can't expect to go back to life as we knew it pre-COVID-19 and think that's this not going to continue to be a problem," he said.
Spillers said about 9% of people tested for coronavirus are coming back with a test that shows they have the virus. He said that's an increase of 3% since Monday and about double the national average.
Since the state has reopened from some restrictions over the last month, WAAY 31 asked Spillers if he agrees with Gov. Kay Ivey, who doesn't plan on shutting the state back down.
"I think we had reached our limit on how long people were going to stay sheltered in place, but I'm one of those who believe face coverings have huge benefits," he said.
Leaders across North Alabama have told us they don't plan to put mandatory face covering ordinances in place. Spillers said he's talked to them about it.
"I have shared my opinion, and it's just that, my opinion. As I think we should have more stringent rules on face coverings, and I think that would be very beneficial to all of us. I understandt there perspective about face coverings and how it's hard to enforce," he said.
With 1,100 cases announced in Alabama Thursday, the biggest one day increase, Spillers said a face covering rule might be more effective statewide.
"I would almost rather see that on a statewide level. I think if we are going to do it, let's do it across the entire state as I think some other states are now implementing," he said.
Spillers said the hospital has ordered another machine to process coronavirus test, and there is still a nationwide shortage of the re-agent needed to process the tests.
He also told us the hospital is receiving the amount of remdesivir it needs from the state to treat some of the hospitalized patients.