RMC Anniston treating 40 COVID-19 patients

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 6:03 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Anniston’s Regional Medical Center says their main goal right now is preparation - ensuring the hospital staff is ready for an increase in patients.

Currently, there are 40 hospitalizations for cases of COVID. Six of those patients are fully vaccinated. Dr. George Crawford says they have underlying conditions, making them more at-risk than others.

“Don’t look at it as, ‘oh you can still get COVID.’ These are patients that had cancer, end-stage renal disease, morbid obesity, COPD from smoking,” says Crawford. “That under normal circumstances during this time would be dead. Those are the patients that would’ve been found at home. No one had heard from them.”

In May, RMC celebrated the discharge of their last COVID patient. Tuesday, they’re looking for ways to make room for more. This increase in patients is only the beginning, according to Crawford. He says that’s why they’re meeting with the hospital staff now.

“We have talked to the nurses,” says Crawford. “Started telling them, ‘hey that time is coming up where we have you maybe working in the ER for a little bit, or maybe covering ICU for a little bit.’ So we’re trying to make sure that we have the manpower to take care of those patients.”

Crawford says the vaccine is safe and saves lives. He wants to stress the importance of getting the vaccination to protect yourself and others.

“I think we still have an opportunity to turn the death rate around. You know, we’re not so much focused on taking care of patients that have small symptoms. What we’re trying to do is prevent people from dying from this. In order to turn the tide and make sure this is not a wave of death. We need to make sure that we do everything that we can to get everyone vaccinated.”

Last week, RMC announced changes to their visitation policy. Now, Crawford says they’ve also made adjustments to patient procedures.

“We’ve opened up our third unit,” says Crawford. “We’ve already started canceling overnight stay surgeries, or surgeries that require ICU admission. We know that this early on in the respiratory virus season, to have 50 patients in the hospital with respiratory viruses, it’s just going to continue.”

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