Montgomery County COVID Cases Double the Number of Cases for both Jefferson and Mobile Counties

June 9, 2020
Contact:
Kadie Agnew, Baptist Health, 334-648-8394, ccagnew@baptistfirst.org
Mia Mothershed, Jackson Hospital, 334-293-8805, mia.mothershed@jackson.org
Jeannie Gaines, Alabama Hospital Association, 334-651-3540, jgaines@alaha.org

Over the last 14 days, Montgomery county has had double the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) compared to Jefferson and Mobile Counties, according to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Jefferson County (population 659,892) has experienced 449 cases, and Mobile County (population 414,659) has had 427 cases.  During the same 14 days, Montgomery County (population of only 226,941) has experienced 825 cases. This case number only reflects those who live in Montgomery County and does not count those from outlying counties who are seeking care in River Region hospitals.

“Montgomery and the surrounding areas throughout Central Alabama remain a hotspot for the virus, and yet many citizens appear to think the worst is over,” said Dr. David Thrasher, Director of Respiratory Therapy at Jackson Hospital. “I can assure you that Montgomery’s cases are not going down, and if our community does not take this seriously, the virus will continue to spread, and at some point, our medical capacity will reach its limit.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout the last few weeks have continued to increase as have the number of calls from people with concerns about COVID-19. Baptist Health’s three hospital campuses combined had 127 COVID- positive inpatients on June 6, which is the organization’s highest number of positives since the pandemic began. This is up 51% since May 25. Jackson Hospital saw its largest number of COVID- positive inpatients on June 3, peaking at 57. This was a 67% increase within 24 hours.

Dr. Donovan Kendrick, Chief Medical Officer at Baptist Health noted that to date, local hospitals have been able to manage large numbers of COVID-19 patients, while still providing necessary care to others, including emergency care and certain elective procedures.  “We want to assure the River Region that our hospitals are taking every precaution to continue providing quality and safe care to both COVID and non-COVID patients, but we need the community’s help to avoid becoming further overwhelmed with COVID patients.”

Jan Hill, Jackson Hospital Chief Nursing Officer added, “Our top priority continues to be the health, safety and well-being of our team members and the community. It is important that members of the community do not ease up on the safety precautions laid out by the CDC.”
Both Jackson Hospital and Baptist Health commend the dedication of their extraordinary staff, but contend this has been physically and emotionally demanding.  Both providers have had to look at supplemental staffing due to the increased number of hospitalizations and the need to quarantine some of their own staff.

“The trends we are seeing in Central Alabama are alarming,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president, Alabama Hospital Association.  “We’ve got to convince citizens of the need to step up their social distancing and other practices known to reduce the spread of the disease.  Two recent studies prove that it works, with one of them showing that cases, and hence hospitalizations and deaths, can be reduced by 90 percent during the first 100 days if all groups reduce their contacts with others.  We understand that people are tired of this disease, but in Montgomery and surrounding areas it’s critical that we not let up at this juncture.”

“We can’t stress enough the importance of staying home if possible, keeping at least six feet apart from people, wearing masks, washing your hands frequently and avoiding gatherings where you aren’t able to maintain these precautions,” added Dr. Williamson.  “Montgomery’s cases should not be double that of Mobile or Jefferson County simply based on population size. In addition, if we do not make changes in our daily behavior, there’s no way we can avoid increasing numbers of cases and deaths.  It’s a real threat, and we believe it’s our obligation to let individuals know the risks and understand what’s going on.”