DCH UPDATE: SOME PATIENTS WHO DIED WITH COVID-19 MAY NOT HAVE DIED OF VIRUS
Twenty-one COVID-19 patients have died at DCH Regional Medical Center, but not all of them lost their lives to coronavirus.
Chief Operating Officer for DCH Health System Paul Betz provided new insight to patient deaths during the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama’s latest online update.
“What we are reporting publicly is the number of people who were COVID-positive at the time of their death,” Betz said.
Betz said many of the COVID patients who died at DCH were poor health before their diagnoses, so their exact cause of death may not have been coronavirus. In fact, patients who died were in the ICU for an average of 14 days.
“In these cases, cause of death may not have been COVID-19,” Betz said.
Betz said the virus situation remains “stable and manageable,” and DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa has fewer than 400 patients. That’s close to their usual numbers, Betz said.
None of that means residents can start being lax about hygiene or social distancing, Betz said. A sudden spike in cases could overwhelm the hospital.
“For instance, if COVID-19 got into a nursing home in our primary service area, and the patients got sick enough to have to come to our hospital, our situation could change in a number of hours,” Betz said.
A detailed breakdown of coronavirus cases at DCH, including number of inpatients on ventilators can be found at www.dchsystem.com. The health system is updating numbers daily.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting eight deaths from COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa County. COVID-19 deaths are reported as being from the deceased person’s county of residence.