COVID19…Amidst the conundrum and the chaos. Daily musings of an ID Doc. March 29, 2020.

My RMC Family,

As of Friday March 27th, we have done 236 testings for SARS-CoV-2 between both hospitals, drive through and JSU Student Health Center.

Calhoun County currently has three positive cases. The first positive case was an individual who was overseas and was tested in the ER without having to be admitted. The second case reported by ADPH was not done locally and got tested out of state and presumably got it there; that person is back home and is currently on self quarantine. The third case was also not done through our system but through a private testing center and that person is also on self quarantine at home. Other than that I cannot divulge any more personal information as per HIPAA law.

Of the 236 cases we tested, only one turned out to be positive and that individual did not need to be hospitalized. Based on that, there is no compelling evidence that sustained community-acquired cases exist yet. It is because of this and the fact that we are trying to save our resources that we have consciously not mandated to require the use of masks of any kind to noncontact staff and physicians. That is up until late last week when we loosened our policy that now allows them to wear homemade cloth masks in the hospital. Those taking care of PUIs on the other hand are provided with and are required to use appropriate PPEs. As the Chair of both hospitals’ Infection Control Committee I have been making recommendations as such. The guidelines are from CDC and APDH.

We have been saving for the surge. We currently have a good stockpile of PPEs. We were promised more by FEMA and DHS out of McClellan. I’m a member of Calhoun County ID Task Force. That’s one thing we asked them. Or 1 of many. We have an excellent surge plan-more and better prepared than some hospitals.

Our main problem is nursing staff shortage. As it is, it’s a problem presurge. It would be a catastrophe when this thing hits the fan. We’re also looking at asking JSU to grant early graduation to nursing students. Or even Gadsden State CC.

Please be patient. And if you have any questions, call me. Everybody has my cell number.

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