Right now, positivity rates for coronavirus are up across North Alabama. Marshall County currently has the highest with 54% of people testing positive over the last three weeks.
At the same time, Marshall County Medical Centers has a record number of coronavirus patients. Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Woodruff said Monday that she believes there may be a direct correlation.
"It's a challenge for us," Woodruff said. "We'll make it through somehow because we always do."
Even before the pandemic, Woodruff said there was a nursing shortage. However, the pandemic has only made it worse.
Marshall Medical Centers currently has 55 inpatients with coronavirus. Woodruff said that is the highest amount they have had since the pandemic began.
"If you would've asked me back in March, you know, can you take care of 55 COVID patients? I would have said 'no way,'" Woodruff said.
To make room, just last week, elective surgeries were suspended, freeing up 11 more beds. Woodruff admits she is nervous to see how large gatherings during Thanksgiving may affect hospitalizations. However, there is a plan in place if more room is needed.
"We do have a couple of large areas within both of our facilities that we could develop and put cots in and make those big, wards, I guess would be the best way to describe that."
Back at the hospital, this pandemic continues to take a toll on those working non-stop.
"These patients are very, very sick, and it's emotionally stressful for the staff because we've seen a lot of death and it's just a bad time right now," Woodruff said.
She added the rise in hospitalizations is caused by community spread. Those hospitalized range in age from their 30s to 80s.