DCH tightens restrictions as new COVID-19 variants rise

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Asher Redd

DCH Regional Medical Center has revised its rules for hospital visitors as COVID-19 cases and new variants continue to increase across the state.

“We adjust our visitation based on the current Alabama Department of Public Health’s COVID Community Transmission Rate, and currently, that transmission rate is at high, or the very highest level that it can be at, and because of that, we recently, about a week and half or two weeks ago, changed our visitation policy so that we’re limiting, in most areas, two visitors per patient,” said Andy North, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at DCH.

There are now 33 COVID-positive patients across the health system’s campuses. Six are receiving treatment in the ICU.

In the state of Alabama, 63% of the population have had at least one dose of the vaccine, 51% are fully vaccinated, and 18% have been boosted.

Despite a portion of the population being fully vaccinated and boosted, people who received the booster shot make up 16% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“It definitely feels, at times, that it hasn’t been that effective, but the effectiveness of the vaccine really comes down to getting everyone vaccinated as soon as possible,” North said.

Alabama Hospital Association President Don Williamson said while current COVID-19 vaccines largely prevent hospitalizations and death, they are not as effective at preventing infection and transmission.

“Right now, we’re dealing with a vaccine that was developed during the first variant, and the problem with that is that the variants are changing more rapidly than we can change the vaccine, but at some point, we will get ahead of the virus,” he said.

For more information on COVID-19 and vaccines, head over to alabamapublichealth.gov.

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