DCH Health System is reporting a big uptick in COVID-19 patients staying in the hospital this week.

On Tuesday, the system was treating seven people with the virus. As of Wednesday morning it jumped to 17, and Thursday morning they’re up to 19 inpatients with the virus.

“This is an evolving process, and we’re constantly looking to improve both our flow of information and treatment processes,” Said DCH Health System COO Paul Betz.

At any given time, DCH has between 40 and 65 people in the hospital presenting with COVID-19 symptoms. The patients are tested for the virus and are treated with extra precautions in case they do test positive.

“On Monday we announced that we can now test in-house in under eight hours combined with rapid turn around times from Diatherix Lab and other labs for the more acute patients,” Betz said. “We saw a rapid decrease from 61 (persons under investigation) Tuesday to 14 this morning. This faster turn around is cutting down on lag time and we’re starting to get a more real time picture of what is happening.”

There are currently five or fewer COVID-19 patients in the ICU, and five or fewer COVID-19 patients on ventilators, according to <a href=”https://www.dchsystem.com/Articles/coronavirus_update_and_health_system_preparations.aspx” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>DCH’s daily update</a>.

“By any measures so far, the caseload has been well within our capacity and that’s the good news,” Betz said. “Unfortunately, now is not the time to let up on our efforts on social distancing as the number of those testing positive in our community continues to climb.”

<p>DCH is far from capacity, Betz said, but the uptick is concerning.</p>

“On March 31, DCH testing had yielded 18 positives and 604 negatives for a rate of 2.98% positive,” he said. “Among those tested as of Wednesday, we were in 131 positives and 2,732 negatives with a positive rate of 4.5%. We’re optimistic but we do not feel we have hit the peak of this event yet.”

Testing has declined at DCH’s outdoor testing site. When the site opened, they were handling about 400 cars a day, Betz said. That number is down to about 70 cars a day.

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