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Monday, March 1, 2021

Madison County officials hold news conference about coronavirus response

Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
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Madison County officials hold news conference about coronavirus response
Madison County officials hold news conference about coronavirus response
Madison County officials hold news conference about coronavirus response

>>> and we are breaking into your normal programming with the latest developments on the coronavirus.

>> right now huntsville city and madison county officials are preparing to release new information.

Let's lynn listen?

>> our speakers today will be mr. spillers, mr. david spillers from huntsville hospital, chairman dale strong, madison county commission, and elizabeth garcia from better business bureau of north alabama.

Again, you will note that we are sitting at least six feet apartsh abide big cdc guidelines.

Our own best practices to san tieses and sanitize and separate.

I'll begin with a current update of what we know.

Currently there are 283 statewide confirmed cases and still 21 confirmed cases as we know it now in madison county.

Again, as we always say, we continue to monitor that situation and we respond accordingly.

At this time i'd like to turn it over to mr. david spillers from huntsville hospital.

>> mr. spillers: good morning.

I want to start by sharing with you and the community what a wonderful job the health care professionals throughout this county is doing, the team at huntsville hospital, the team at crestwood, city leader, et cetera, et cetera, are doing an outstanding job preparing this community.

In the event we get into a situation like some other communities around the country are dealing with right now, an that's a massive number of covid-19 patients.

I will tell you at this point the numbers are still manageable.

As mentioned we have 21 cases, i believe, identified in madison county.

And i apologize if sometimes our numbers don't add up.

I know you would like to add up numbers and they all tick and tie.

I would, too, but information is coming in as we walk in the door, and some information, the best information we have is midnight last night.

But right now throughout our health system of hospitals we have diagnosed or gotten results back on 30 patients that have tested positive.

21 of those are in madison county.

We have tested and sent home -- yesterday we tested and sent home 270 patients across north alabama.

200 of those were tested in madison county at either our flu clinic or our drive-thru clinic.

So testing a lot of people, a majority, almost all of them are going home to self quarantine until results come back.

To date we've tested well over a thousand patients here in madison county.

As of today we have plenty of supplies for testing.

We've received some additional shipment of the material we need to do testing.

Periodically we have some delays.

I've gotten some e-mails from patient who were tested at our flu clinics last week that still do not have their test results back.

We're working to try to identify those patients and try to track down their results.

The labs last week were overwhelmed with volume.

And the labs that we used to process that equipment, remember, we take the sample and we send it to a lab to be processed.

So anything we sent to an outside lab, we're at their mercy as to when we get those tests back.

We're working to turn those tests around quickly, so if someone is listening and they had a test, they have not heard back, always assume it is positive.

Stay karn quarantined until you hear different and we'll try our best to see what lab results are outstanding and get in touch with those patients.

We have across our system 41 patients in the hospital that we're waiting on test results.

Ten of those are in madison county.

Ironically we've got the largest number of those in decatur, decatur/morgan facilities holding 16 inpatients right now for testing.

It doesn't mean they've got more patients than we have here in madison county, it just means that they've got that many wasting to be tested.

There was a meeting as i was leaving to come here to look at the protocols for testing and make sure the protocols there are the same we're using elsewhere.

They could be using a more liberal testing policy than we're using, so we're trying to find out why we have so many in decatur that are awaiting testing.

As of midnight last night we still only had four inpatients in madison county.

I believe we had one or two more across the region.

I'm sorry, i would have to look at my numbers to see that.

In madison county at midnight last night we had four inpatients.

Two at madison hospital and two at huntsville hospital that we were treating.

I'll tell you our clinics, our flu and fever clinic on governor's drive continues to run wide open.

Still seeing over 200 patients.

A large number of those we are testing.

We are testing all of those for flu and still finding a lot of flu cases.

Our john hunt drive-thru clinic is still up and operational.

We're testing people there.

And then yesterday we started a mobile clinic in north huntsville.

It went to -- i think it was first missionary church, and we had lined up -- pre-lined up 50 patients to be screened there.

That unit went to a different church on blue spring road today for testing.

So we're trying to move that unit around to area where's people have limited access to physicians and limited ability to travel.

On the mobile medical unit we do have either a nurse practitioner or physician so we can actually do orders for testing when that mobile medical unit is out.

I get a lot of questions about our supplies and availability of supplies.

At this point our supplies look good.

I'm constantly asked to predict how long they will last.

I'm sorry i can't do that.

If i -- under normal usage we have adequate supplies to last us for several weeks, assuming our supplies continue to come in as they have been.

We have ordered additional supplies.

We think we should have two large shipments of masks, both n 95 and surgical masks coming in this week.

We hope to get those this week or early next week.

You know, the reason i can't predict how long they last is if we had a sudden influx of inpatients, then we will start using at a significantly higher rate.

We're looking at allocating some of the shipments we've got coming in to our employees to make sure that we're doing everything we can to possibly keep them safe during this process so that they will be available to take care of anyone who needs care when they come in our hospital.

We're also working on what we call surge capacity.

This is huntsville and all of our system hospitals, crestwood is doing the same thing.

We're in contact with them.

A lot of communication is going on among all of us.

And that's just to make sure that we've identified every possible place we could put a patient in the event that we needed that capacity.

Right now, because we've canceled elective surgeries and eliminated a lot of the elective services, we have an adequate supply of beds available throughout our system.

But, you know, there's always places we could put patients in the event we needed to.

I'm sure you're all reading what's going on in no, new york city where they're running out of beds and starting to use facilities off-site.

We think -- and this is we think because we don't know what's coming, but we think we've got a large number of beds that could be used in our hospitals before we would ever have to resort to something like that.

But the team is doing a good job finding those.

We brought some -- we've located things like mattresses we have in storagend places to keep those.

I'll tell you, it's far easier to take care of large numbers of patients in our honts than it is to try to set up a mobile hospital or something like that.

It's just -- you need computer systems and you need access to pharmaceuticals and all those things.

We continue to look in our hospitals first for capacity.

You know, i was talking to somebody the other day and they said, well, what's it like?

It's like prepare for a category 5 hurricane and hoping like heck it doesn't hit you.

But knowing it doesn't hit you it's going to probably hit somebody else.

That's the bad thing we're dealing with here.

Doing our best to repare, i think, as a health care system.

We're doing well.

I think as a community we're doing well.

Just appreciate the efforts that everybody is putting into it right now.

Thank you.

>> jeff birdwell: thank you, mr. we'll go to chairman dale strong, madison county commission.

>> chairman strong: thank you, david, chef.

We've got the right people at the right place at the right time in our region to help us through this crisis.

My objective since day one of this situation remains the same and that's to share with the 370,000 residents of madison county the most up to date and available information on what we're doing to protect the residents' health and safety.

We've been -- we're also have a definitive plan to resume business whenever this occurs.

As mayor battle and mayor finley have shared, when they've been represented here at local government, we talk daily.

Together the information, share among the folks and commissioners, city council members, but that information is coming from the alabama department of public health, leaders of our area hospitals, hemsi, redstone arsenal, ema and we're also frequently briefedly huntsville utilities, 911 dispatch, local scientist, local physicians and local health care providers.

I thank each of you for what you're doing for our community.

Earlier today the alabama department of public health confirmed 283 positive cases of covid-19 in alabama and 21 of those are in madison county.

It's important to point out that these are only the tests being handled by the bureau of clinic labs and doesn't include private laboratories also testing at a high rate.

This also tells us that the steps we're taking to mitigate this spread of virus oper operating with essential personnel, limiting exposure to residents and employees and each of us maintaining social distance is working.

In madison county we're continuing to conduct essential county business.

The sheriff's department sanitation, water, inspection, public works, human resource, finance, le legal prorks bait, license department, tax collector, tax assessor, they're ready to serve our community and most of this is -- as a matter of fact, all of this is being done without public interaction as being con conducted online.

Critical services are being done, patrolling the streets, picking up household wastes and maintaining safe drinking water as we do each and every day for the people of madison county.

The 23rd circuit remains operational to address emergency orders, arraignments and protection from abuse orders.

The madison county courthouse has limited staff with essential personnel to help residents take care of their business, and some departments are operating on staggered schedules to ensure their health and safety while serving our residents.

If you have questions, please go to madisoncountyal.gov.

Again, madisoncountyal.gov.

The license department is processing online tag renewals, new vehicle registrations and registration of new vehicles over the phone daily from 10:00 a.m.

To 2:00 p.m.

Our inspection department is moving full steam ahead on subdivisions and construction plans and working with developers to move their projects forward and keep madison county working and to keep our economy going.

Developers and contractors can submit their plans online and our team is processing those daily.

All of our available services can be found online at madisoncountyal.gov and if you need help finding the right place call my office at 256-532-3795 and we'll get you where you need to be.

Dr. joe sharp and our employee's clinic and pharmacy are serving our employees and their families and retirees the same day.

The crucial step of closing the madison county courthouse to the public was a necessary step to protect our community.

When you've got anywhere from 2500 to 3,000 people daily moving in and out and throughout our courthouse, putting the safety of our residents and employees first was and is my top priority.

I'm working with our team on plans for when the team comes to safely and security reopen the courthouse.

But at the top of our list is ensuring health and safety.

These next days will prove critical to be sure that we can get business back rolling sooner.

I just encourage everybody to continue to do what you're doing and reduce the spread of this virus.

We absolutely want to resume business as usual, as quickly as possible, but the top priority will always be safety.

When we're confident we can reasonably -- reassure it's completely safe we'll move forward with executing those plans to reopen and we'll keep the community informed of those plans.

Let me say this, we will make it through this.

Madison county is strong.

We are strong businesses here.

We have a strong workforce.

A workforce stronger than any.

The liquidity of our local economy and financial system is strong.

And the big thing that we will continue to do is to let the people know what is going on in our community because that is what has led to the virus not being spread in madison county at the level of some counties we are seeing throughout the nation.

I thank each of you for what you've done to get through this process.

There are so many that we talk to every day but, in closing, i just encourage everyone to follow the cdc and alabama department of public health guidelines to minimize and contain the spread of this kroarncoronavirus, stay separate, stay safe, and stay sanitized.

It's an honor to serve as the chairman of your madison county commission.

>> jeff birdwell: thank you.

At this time we'll go to elizabeth garcia from the better business bureau, north alabama.

>> ms. garcia: thank you very much.

The better business bureau is working closely with local officials as well as all community leaders to provide support to citizens across huntsville/madison county and all 13 counties of north alabama.

We're here to alert everyone to coronavirus scams, to fake remedies, price gouging, and much more.

We're also here to support local businesses and non-profits as we move through these uncertain times.

But first let's talk about the scams because that's prime on everyone's mind.

And there are a number at out there related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The first that we're hearing a lot of is the government grant or stimulus check scam.

Whether it's through text, e-mail, or by telephone, scammers are asking for personally identifiable information, social security numbers, credit card information or other financial information.

All in an effort to try to get you to give them the information they need for identity theft or other forms of fraud.

And they're doing this -- they're aledge that they need this information in order to assure that your identity is correct and that you can receive the funds.

We've also been getting calls from the elderly saying that people are going door to door offering to get prescriptions for them or to get groceries for them or other -- do other errands.

This in and of itself is not a problem, that's wonderful.

In fact, this community has been wonderful in coming together to try to help others in need.

But we urge you to be careful about whom you let in your home.

Try to stick to trusted relatives, neighbors, friends, or an organization that you've already worked with and that you know well.

Along the same lines we've been receiving reports of persons, again, going door to door but this time trying to sell coronavirus home test kits, remedies or cures.

And as we know, none of this is real.

It's all fake and it's all a scam.

So don't buy any of these products.

Don't let folks in the door that are trying to offer these products to you.

Be very cautious.

As you're surfing the web and looking at the number of coronavirus heat maps trying to understand how the outbreak is progressing, whether nationally or around the world, try to stick to trusted websites like the cdc, the alabama department of public health, t with h.o.

Websites.

Because there are, especially on the internet and some posts on social media sites, there are fake maps out there that if you click on the links it could download malicious or malware on to your particular computers and it could be used to steal information from you for identity theft or fr fraud later.

Be very careful in using that.

We've also heard just in the last day that scammers are already starting to call business owners and claiming that they need to preregister to receive the sba economic injury disaster loans.

All of the applications for that type of loan is being handled online through the sba website.

If you receive a call out of the blue, a business owner receives a call out of the blue regarding that, know that it's a scam.

Do not -- hang up.

Don't give them any information.

And know that it's a scam.

The next thing i wanted to talk about is price gouging.

Now, by and large our communities are great.

Everybody is working together.

Everybody is trying to follow the guidelines and trying to do what is right.

But should you see instances of price gouging be sure to report it.

And so what does that mean?

Well, our attorney general just a few days ago gave us a definition of price gouging and what you need to look out for.

It's unlawful for anyone to raise prices on commodities, essential goods, or lodging by more than 25% during a declared state of emergency.

So if you see cases of this, report it to the attorney general's office at alabamaag.gov or you can report it to the better business bureau.

We'll process the information and we will also forward that information to the appropriate authorities.

You can contact us at 533-1640 or go online at bbb.org to make your report.

You can also go to bb b.orgaddtruth.

I also want to talk about supporting local businesses and non-profits.

We are all truly in this together, but together we can get through this adversity.

I'd like to offer you ways you can continue to support your local businesses and non-profits you may or may not have thought of already.

First of all, consider buying gift cards and gift certificates.

Whether you're going to use them now or in the future or you might want to give them as gifts.

Try to keep scheduled services unless it's necessary for you to cancel or reschedule.

Take take-out, delivery, curbside pickup.

Continue patronning local businesses through online ordering.

Of course that's available for many businesses.

And if you can, at all possible, try to tip a little bit higher in this time of need.

And don't forget about our non-profits.

Try to continue donating to them and volunteering, if you can, while still being able to observe the social distancing that we all need to observe at this time.

In addition, the better business bureau has a facebook group.

We've started to help support local businesses and non-profits.

You can find that on our facebook page at better business bureau of north alabama.

Also don't forget that the sba will be having a webinar on their economic injury disaster loans.

They will be providing information on how business owners in particular can apply for that program.

It's being hosted by the huntsville-madison county chamber of commerce.

You can find more information about it there.

It's also being hosted by uah, the small business development center, and the ua center for research and economic development.

That program will be tomorrow, thursday, the 26th, at 11:00 a.m.

And while there are a lot of excellent resources out to help you get through this time, this uncertain time, you can also go to bbb.org/coronavirus for consumer information and you can go to bbb.org/smallbusiness for business tips to help you through this time.

If you have any questions, we're always here to help you.

We'll answer any questions that you have.

We'll take complaints.

We'll take any information that you can give us to help our consumers and our citizens make it through this time.

Thank you very much.

>> jeff birdwell: thank you, ms. thank you for watching today.

We will be back here again tomorrow at noon for another daily briefing.

Until then, critical updates will be posted to the city of huntsville's covid-19 web page as well as the websites of our partners here today.

Stay safe.

Stay separate.

And remember to sanitize.

At this time we will take any questions.

We do ask when you come to the microphone, please state your name and who you are of fill yaited with and we will allow one question and a follow up.

>> chris joseph, waff.

Mr. chairman, what has the madison county school district communicated to you or other local governments about the teacher that tested positive recently?

>> chairman strong: i have communicate with the superintendent of madison county schools.

I know that they are working with the alabama department of public health.

And again, i refer you to them.

They can probably give you more definitive information.

Dr. mackey has the state superintendent, had a press conference today.

They're evaluating the school situation separately.

>> when it comes to potentially disinfecting a room or a location perhaps like a school, what is available to go about that, i suppose?

I don't know if that's a question for the chairman or perhaps mr. spillers or mr. birdwell.

>> mr. spillers: i can only speak to the process as we use it at the hospitals.

So it might be better for someone else to speak tort school system.

>> chairman strong: we've got our in-house people, that was one of our things, not contaminating the courthouse because of how many people we hope to have back in it as soon as we possibly can.

The big thing is the staff is there, sanitizing daily just for the minimal amount that is in and out.

But there are professional companies that are available throughout north alabama that have the ability to decon larger buildings.

We'll defer to the private enterprise for that but they're more than able to handle it.

>> jeff birdwell: i do know through the normal processes of the alabama department of public health, they are providing guidance to the schools.

So you might want to check their website.

There might be some information related to that.

>> my name is kelley smith, reporter for whnt news 19.

This question is for dr. spille.

I wanted to ask you, what is the protocol for notifying people of their covid-19 test results and are there staff that are dedicated from the hospital system to do that?

>> mr. spillers: for the patients, we test, we have a process to contact them as soon as we have the information available.

A little bit of frustration right now because some of those test results are so long coming back.

So we can't -- we cannot communicate with someone if we don't have the results.

If someone tests positive there's an immediate call to them as well as to the state.

That patient would immediately be quarantined by the state order.

And that information turns around relatively quickly.

>> all right.

And to follow up -- >> mr. spillers: i could add to that, we've started using local labs as much as possible and the lab in birmingham.

I think our turn around times for those tests are better now.

The mitigating factor there would be as more test kits are available and as that lab continues to do more and more tests and we could run into a situation where their turn around starts to slow down as well.

>> this is a follow-up.

It's like a two-parter.

Do you know how many tests are seeing delayed results and -- i guess it's a three-parter.

Do you know how many tests are having delayed results, do you know which lab that could be from, and what should people do if they've been waiting several days to get results and they're wondering if they have a positive or negative test result?

>> mr. spillers: that's a good question.

We've now focused -- we are now using two labs.

We used one in birmingham and we used the one here at diatherix for inpatients that needed immediate turn around.

Those come back in a period of hours not days.

People we're holding in the emergency department, people who are inpatients, or health care workers who have been exposed and we need a quick turn around on.

We have no problem with diatherix' turn around and we're managing the utilization of them to make sure it's appropriate because they also have limited capacity.

The other lab that we use in birmingham now is turn around testing generally 24 to 48 hours.

Now that can vary a little bit depending on what time of day we get the test down to the lab.

There are other -- there's other testing going on in our communities in commercial lab, either lab quest or -- lab corps or quest.

The large national labs, turn around in those labs i understand is a little slower.

So a physician office could be using those labs independently.

They don't have to use our lab or the lab vendors we're using.

Those lab tests can be slower because they're processing massive numbers of tests.

We are also working with uab to try to get the material to do testing at our labs.

Uab would be first obviously because they've got the issue to deal with in jefferson county where they've got many more cases than we have.

But we're trying to work with a vendor called -- by the name of rosch, a national vendor.

We could process these in our own lab.

We have the ability to do this in our lab and get turn around in a matter of minutes, hours, much faster than we can today.

We just cannot get from the national lab vendors the material to do that in our lab but we're continuing to work on it.

I think uab will have that capacity very soon.

We will work with uab and we could use them as third lab for those tests that we need to turn around quickly.

>> chairman strong: kelly, also, on results when they come back and somebody tests positive the alabama department of public health is making contact and also doing a tree of trying to determine exactly who they have been in contact with and they're actually working with, in con jconjunction with the police department, madison county police department to make those notifications.

So it is another process there to hit those that potentially have been in contact with those that test positive.

>> mr. spillers: i would remind people, if you've been tested, just stay quarantined, stay away from people.

You should be doing that any way.

You will hear all of us preach stay away from other people, if at all possible, particularly if you've been tested.

Stay quarantined until you get those results.

>> sydney martin with channel 31, my question is for mr. spillers.

You talked about the mobile bus today.

You talk about how people who are eligible to be tested are being notified and kind of how that whole process is working, how many people are being tested on the bus today?

>> mr. spillers: with the mobile bus, think of the flu clinic on governor's avenue but riding around in our bus.

Again, we coordinated that yesterday with a church in north huntsville.

They helped identify those people that needed to be tested, needed to get there and help get them there.

We collect all that information when we run that test and then we get those results directly back to those patients based on the information that they give us when they register at our mobile medical unit.

>> do you know how many people were tested?

>> mr. spillers: we test 50.

We can do about 50 a day in our mobile medical unit.

So again, we will move that from -- to different locations every day.

Every day in north huntsville.

>> i just wanted clarification real quick.

You said 41 people are waiting for test results.

Those people are hospitalized but they're not positive or negative at this point?

>> mr. spillers: they're not positive or negative.

We're waiting on results.

That's a significant number to know because we treat all of those 41 patients just like they have covid-19 until we can rule out that they do not have covid-19.

And that's where resource utilization comes into play.

A significantly larger amount of resources are used to take care of those patients until we can rule out.

Those in-house patients and the 41 that i mentioned, i think all 41 of those will be going to diatherix so that we can get immediate turn around on them, immediate being a couple of hours or a couple days.

But it's also a moving number.

The minute we roll one or two off we roll one or two more back on.

That number fluctuates a little bit but i think it's always going to be the same because we're testing -- adding more people to test as other people come off negative.

And obviously some of those are coming back negative because you know how many patients with vendor in the hospital that are positive.

We only got two at huntsville main and two at madison.

That's all we have in madison county right now.

Thanks.

>> mr. spillers, paul gattis from al.com.

You gave a lot of numbers about testing and then we know according to adph, 21 positives right now.

I'm interested in perspective on the number of tests, the number of positives.

Is that a good number or a bad number or is there a percentage that you look at that's kind of expected?

>> mr. spillers: well, we're like everybody else.

We've got our statisticians and mathematicians crunching numbers so we can predict what's going to happen here.

And we've about determined you can't really extrapolate from what happened in one country or one city to what will happen here.

If you look at the number of tests we're returning versus the number of positive results, it's a very small percentage.

And then if you look at the percentage of those tests that are in the hospital, it is a very small percentage of the patients being hospitalized.

I think -- and keep in mind, we're only testing people who we think have symptoms and need to be tested.

If you go to a clinic and you see a doctor, many of those patients are not tested for this because they've got flu or something else or they don't need to be tested.

So you would think when you're testing the people that have symptoms or have some reason to be tested, you would get a higher hit rate.

If you extrapolate that to the entire population the percentage of positive tests would get even smaller.

So that gives me hope that our community is doing the right things and that we're having some impact on the volume -- the number of patients that will actually end up being tested positive.

But it only works if we keep separating and sanitizing.

You all know the numbers.

A patient who has this, that comes in contact with a lot of people, can infect a lot of people that can then in turn infect a lot more people.

So i wouldn't get comfortable because the numbers are low.

I would be happy that they're low but i continue to practice what we're preaching.

And that is sanitize and separate and hopefully they'll continue to be low.

I also caution people to just do the math and just make an assumption from the math because there are so many variables that go into this.

And i -- when you live in a town full of engineers they want to do the math and they want to predict it.

I've got some great e-mails where people have done this.

But i think you've got to be careful because there's a lot of other facfactors that go into this, not just addition and subtraction and division.

Thank you.

>> chairman strong: just a quick follow-up on that.

You talked about separating and sanitize and i think everybody here in the room has talked about that and commend the community for that behavior over this period of time.

But as powerful as this virus is, how much good can that really do and even in the best situation of practicing good safe hygiene should we still expect a bump or a surge or a spike or whatever word you want to use at some point?

>> mr. spillers: i can't predict the future.

I wish i could.

Probably sleep better at night if i could.

I think that, you know, we're preparing for the absolute worse.

I say that every time i meet with you.

We're prepare for a spike because all indications are that if it gets out of control you have a spike.

Right now the trend line for us is not a spike.

We don't see that because the numbers that are growing are growing very slowly.

But if we let our guard down, if we don't do what we're talking about, and one person goes out or 20 people get to the for a party and 20 people get exposed and then they go out and expose other people then we'll have the same spikes that people are seeing in other communities.

So we'll preach it over and over again.

Separate, sanitize.

>> chairman strong: i think that's an excellent question.

The thing you see here in huntsville, madison, madison county, the city of huntsville is the second largest city in the state of alabama.

Madison county is the third largest county in the state of alabama.

More than 200,000 in the city of huntsville.

50,000 plus in the city of madison.

And then about 111,700 unincorporated in madison county.

I think that a has been done here in leadership, health care provider, emergency management, everyone in this circle has led to where we are today.

But we've got to stay vigilant.

And that is what's going to lead us back to work faster than ever.

You look and some places, you have a lot less population with a a lot more positive testing.

So what we're doing right now is working but i like what david spillers said, this -- today was a positive.

We didn't have a lot more positive tests.

But the big thing is we've got to be prepared tomorrow if there's double this many tests.

Those are the things that's affecting young, affecting middle age t old, and that's the thing that this emergency plan is working out every day, every hour, something different.

But again, it takes everybody in this room and also the people that are watching because if we let our guard down that's when -- that's whenever all heck can break loose.

And what we've got to do now is protect our families and protect our health care workers because that's the thing, is modifying what has to be done the next day, the next six hours is exactly how this is being handled.

>> mr. spillers: one other thing to add to that question and series of comments, you know, i wouldn't get overly alarmed by more positives that go home and quarantine.

All right?

That's not a good thing but that's not the bad thing.

We're looking for the trend on inpatient.

That's where we're most worried about spike is in inpatient.

But also keep in mind that the number of cases we have and whether we have a spike or not is dependent upon the people listening on tv right now.

Not most of the people in this room, making sure people do what we're talking about.

I have no control over what people in this county choose to do.

I can only ask them to practice sanitation and separation.

And if they do that, we'll all be fine.

>> jeff birdwell: we'll take one more question.

>> hey, ashley from al.com.

I have a question for mr. spillers.

Can you tell us as far as inpatient treatment, if there are any or how many people are on vebt ventilators and how many are available?

>> mr. spillers: i asked for that remember right when i was leaving and i didn't get it.

I think f of the four patients that we have they're all on ventilators because i think that's standard of treatment.

All four of the patients that we have are in a high risk category either from -- either age or because of other comorbidities.

And those are contributing factors to get people on a respirator.

That seems to be the standard of practice for people who have other complications.

We're not having any problem getting access to some of the treatment drugs that people are trying.

I think our infectious disease doctors are and pulmonologists are consulted on every one of these cases and every one of them are managed by a team of specialists.

You have infectious disease physician, pulmonologist and other physicians as needed depending upon what other health conditions that patient may have, whether it can cardiology, never rol n, nephro.

You have the best practice of what is shared around the world that will best work for that particular patient.

>> this is a follow-up.

Can we check back with you later when you have maybe a number of ventilators available in the system?

>> mr. spillers: yeah, i can tell you right now we have identified over 400 ventilators that are available in the system.

Our bio medical team has -- we s that will allow one ventilator to treat multiple patients.

It's becoming pretty common across the country.

You can't do that if patients are in two separate rooms. so we are currently -- those devices can be made relatively inexpensively and the respiratory therapists can use one ventilator for multiple patients.

We're looking at expanding our ventilator capability using that technology.

And then looking for locations where we could put multiple patients in a room, if it gets to that.

We've also are continuing to look at other sources for ventilators, but i will tell you, throughout the country ventilators right now are the number one thing that people are looking for.

So, you know, again, right now we're fine.

If we had 450 patients on ventilators today this would be a whole different conversation about how it's spreading in our community and it would be a whole different resource utilization issue for us.

We would have a lot of issues we would be discussing.

It would be very different from what we've discussed so far today.

Let's pray we don't get to that.

>> thank you.

>> jeff birdwell: at this point we'll conclude this press conference.

Thank you for coming.

>>> okay.

One of the longer one of these briefings, marie, we've seen from madison county official, huntsville, madison city as well.

The big headline i do believe came from the madison county commission chairman dale strong.

Being guarded.

Cautiously optimistic.

He says steps to mitigate the coronavirus from spreading is working.

Again, cautiously optimistic.

When hess looking at the 21 numbers, the positive numbers in madison county, seems to be not the higher numbers that we're seeing in some other counties.

He's talking about not only counties in alabama.

But he did say this, too.

He says, the next days will prove critical.

While they went on the air, waay 31 news, we pushed out the fact that there is a teacher here in madison county schools, an employee that tested positive for coronavirus last night.

This was a teacher at endeavor elementary school.

She tested positive.

It's unknown according to the school system how the teacher contracted the virus but she has been advised to contact anyone she has been in contact with.

We also understand that the last known date for this teacher who had contact with anyone was march 13th.

So here's the point that's being made out there.

If you factor in the 14-day quarantine, the final date of -- to be concerned would be this friday, march 28th.

That's new information that came in.

As they were beginning this news conference this afternoon.

>> that's right.

We also heard from david spillers again with huntsville hospital.

And he was saying that to date a thousand tests have been administered and they are waiting for lab results for about 200 of them or so from madison county.

But he says a lot of you he understands they're getting phone calls.

A lot of you still haven't gotten your test results.

It's been maybe seven longer days since you've had that test done.

He says just assume they're positive if you're sent home.

Stay quarantined.

Stay self-quarantined and wait for those results.

They are working to get those results back as quickly as possible.

Just assume if you've been tested, you've not gotten your result, again, assume you're positive and self-quarantine to the best of your ability to keep that social distancing guidelines in plan.

The flu clinic on governor's drive is still up and running and 200 plus patients a day.

A lot of patients have been tested for coronavirus that came out of that clinic.

And something new that we learned.

They have a mobile clinic now in place.

It was dispatched to first missionary church in north huntsville yesterday.

They saw about 50 patients there.

They are at a church on blue springs road today.

And really this mobile clinic is out there to help patients, to help members of our community who can't get to these other clinics that are already in place.

So this is just another resource that huntsville hospital has, that our community leaders have in place to make sure that we are keeping everyone safe and as healthy as possible across the community, no matter what your abilities or inabilities are at this point.

>> and as we're doing just about everything, we, you, everyone, to try to sanitize and separate.

We're fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

Right?

But we're also have something else that we have to fight against and those are the scams out there.

You heard elizabeth garcia with the better business bureau.

Watch out for anything from government grant, the stimulus check scams that are going on out there, elderly scams, door to door scams, small business association, sba scams out there.

Be on the lookout for that.

Just be very, very cautious before you give up any of your personal information, any of your own money out there.

>> another home testing scams, remedies, cure scams, too.

It's almost disturbing to think that people are taking these lengths to get your money, to steal your identity.

But it is out there.

Unfortunately this is something that we have to address our health leaders, community leaders have to address at this time.

>> we're going to continue to follow all the news as it deals with the coronavirus outbreak.

Our next newscast comes your way at 4:00 this afternoon

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