Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said there are five children with coronavirus hospitalized. He said it’s the first time they’ve seen this during the pandemic.
One of the children hospitalized is a four-year-old patient with cancer. The child was receiving treatment for the cancer and tested positive for coronavirus.
He said another one of the children is a 4-month-old baby.
“I challenge people who resist wearing face coverings to think about this,” Spillers said.
He made the announcement during a news conference on Wednesday at Huntsville City Hall. We also heard from Madison County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Birdwell and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who stressed the importance of wearing face masks during this pandemic.
In total, Spillers said there are 121 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the system’s North Alabama hospitals. Thirty of these patients are in the ICU, and 14 of them are on ventilators.
In Madison County, there are 50 inpatients with coronavirus, including 36 at Huntsville Hospital, five at Huntsville Hospital Women and Children's, five at Madison Hospital and three at Crestwood Medical Center.
Twelve of the inpatients with coronavirus in Madison County are in the ICU, and eight are on ventilators.
There are 19 inpatients with coronavirus at Decatur Morgan Hospital, 32 in Marshall Medical Centers, 11 at Helen Keller Hospital, eight at Athens Limestone Hospital and one at Highlands Medical Center.
“All of our hospitals are busy,” Spillers said at Wednesday's news conference.
He said the system will be limiting testing at its Huntsville Fever and Flu Clinic to people with symptoms. This will start on Monday. The site had to close early this week due to reaching capacity early.
It will also reopen its John Hunt drive-thru testing site on Monday, and testing will be available to people without symptoms.
The John Hunt site is expected to open Monday afternoon, and it will be open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A doctor's order is not required.
Spillers said the John Hunt site will be open as long as there is a demand and adequate amount of testing.
Spillers also said there are workers coming into contact with people in the community with coronavirus, and they’re having to take them out of rotation.
“I’m beginning to worry about staffing for beds,” he said.
Spillers said there are so many cases in the community that it’s creating a strain.