Marshall County health officials stress seriousness of coronavirus pandemic, wearing masks

Health officials in Marshall County spoke about coronavirus during a news conference Thursday morning.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 8:58 AM
Updated: Jul 30, 2020 10:21 AM

UPDATE: Kathy Woodruff, Director of Nursing for Marshall Medical Centers, said the last few weeks have been very challenging, and there were many days where they reached capacity for beds. She said this backed up the emergency department.

Woodruff said this past week, they've had many discharges and capacity is better.

Between the two Marshall Medical Centers hospitals, there are 25 inpatients with coronavirus, including 10 in the ICU and five on ventilators. Woodruff said normally, the average length of stay for inpatients is three to four days, but for most of the inpatients with coronavirus, they are there for multiple weeks.

Woodruff said the hospitals have an adequate amount of personal protective equipment. She said they’ve tested 2,900 people in the hospitals, including the emergency department.

There have been 165 patients with coronavirus admitted since March, and the majority of them are going home, Woodruff said.

There have been 24 coronavirus deaths in Marshall Medical Centers. Woodruff said many of those have been in the last two weeks.

Judy Smith with the Alabama Department of Public Health's North Alabama District said she is cautiously optimistic this week that things are a little better. She stressed the importance of people wearing masks while we wait on a vaccine.

Smith said coronavirus patients take more of nurses' time than other patients in the hospitals.

“The stretching of the healthcare system is tremendous right now,” she said.

She also mentioned that due to the high volume of people getting tested, there are some delays in getting results back right now. She urged people to quarantine while they wait for their results.

Dr. Victor Sparks, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Marshall Medical Center North, stressed the importance of masking, distancing and sanitation.

“We are doing the absolute best we can to relay the best information to you as it comes,” he said.


The Marshall County Commission is hosting a news conference on Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Marshall County Courthouse. 

We expect to hear from the following individuals:

  • Chairman James Hutcheson of the Marshall County Commission
  • Judy Smith, Alabama Department of Public Health, North Alabama District
  • Kathy Woodruff, Director of Nursing for Marshall Medical Centers
  • Dr. Victor Sparks, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Marshall Medical Center North
  • Anita McBurnett, Director of Marshall County Emergency Management

Stay with WAAY 31 on air and online for updates.

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