DCH COVID update: Nearly 100 inpatients, but not as many in ICU

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Like most hospitals around the state, DCH Health System is experiencing an influx of inpatients suffering from COVID-19.

As of Jan. 10, there were 91 inpatients being treated among the system’s trio of hospitals in Tuscaloosa, Northport and Fayette. Of those, 56 are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, while 35 are fully vaccinated. A total of 14 patients are being treated in the intensive care unit, and 13 of those patients are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

DCH Marketing and Communications Vice President Andy North said staffing remains a challenge at the hospitals, so it’s important that residents come to the emergency room only in the case of severe emergencies.

COVID testing and minor COVID-19 symptoms are not an emergency, North said, and those and many other ailments can be handled at emergency care clinics instead of at the hospital.

Emergencies that warrant an emergency room visit include:

  • Major injuries or severe burns
  • Severe chest pain or pressure
  • Any seizure that lasts longer than 3 minutes
  • Trouble breathing
  • A sudden loss of speech or motor control, or weakness or drooping on one side of the body
  • Suicidal thoughts

When in doubt, call your physician or 911.

The COVID-19 omicron variant might be widespread, North said, but fewer people who fall ill are requiring hospital care.

“If you look at the ratio of COVD-positive patients compared to ICU patients that we saw several months ago to now, that is a lower number,” North said. “It does seem to be a little bit less severe with the patients we’re seeing. Not as many of them are needing that ICU care, but we’re seeing much higher numbers.”

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