BY HANNAH LESTER
All across the state of Alabama Tuesday, hospitals planned a moment of silence at noon to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19. East Alabama Health joined in, but opened with few words from Chaplain Laura Eason.
“Today is a somber day in the state of Alabama as we pause and remember all of the lives lost to COVID-19, their families, their friends,” she said. “As of 10:15 this morning, there have been 12,420 deaths due to COVID throughout the state.”
Of that number, 273 died at East Alabama Health due to COVID-19. On the other hand, however, there have been 1,813 who survived COVID-19 and were discharged, as well as 2,843 who were treated with monoclonal antibody infusion therapy, Eason said.
“I also want it to be a day of hope for all of the lives saved,” she said. “Because of the incredible work, hard, hard work of our physicians, nurses and therapists, and our entire staff, here have been 1,813 people hospitalized at East Alabama Health that survived and were discharged to recover at home. That’s amazing.
“… [Infusion Therapy] has been a game changer and helped tremendously in keeping those people out of the hospital and gave them a huge jumpstart on their healing process.”
Eason quoted Philippians 4: “The Lord is near, don’t be anxious about anything, rather bring all your requests to God in prayer and petitions, along with giving thanks, and the peace of God, that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and mind safe in Jesus Christ.”
She closed the ceremony with a prayer before dismissing the gathered hospital staff, doctors and nurses.
“We appreciate the Alabama Hospital Association coordinating this moment of silence across the state today,” said East Alabama Health President and CEO Laura Grill in a media update.
“With hospitals under so much pressure right now, it was nice to be able to have a brief time to reflect.
“… Many of these recent lives lost could have been prevented by simply being vaccinated. It’s extremely unsettling that we still have so many people who are willing to risk their very lives rather than to accept a free vaccine that basically assures them of a less-severe illness from the virus. It’s especially hard for our employees and physicians to continually hear the voices of regret from patients and families when they know they must face the reality of a possible death.”
As COVID cases continue to climb, East Alabama Health announced Monday that over the weekend, the hospital hit a new all-time high for COVID hospitalizations and patients on ventilators.
On Sept. 4, the hospital had 93 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 23 patients on ventilators.On Tuesday, the ventilator patients remained stable at 23, while hospitalizations came down to 85.
“The number we report each day reflects the number of COVID patients who are already in an inpatient bed at a specific moment in time, typically around 9 a.m.,” said John Atkinson, East Alabama Health spokesman, in the media update. “However, that does not include COVID- positive patients who are waiting in the Emergency Department for a bed assignment, either on a regular COVID floor or to an ICU bed.
“… At one point on Saturday, we actually had 94 COVID patients hospitalized and had several more waiting in the Emergency Department for a bed to become available. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve had some patients — both COVID and non-COVID — have to wait 24 hours or more in the ER before being able to be placed in a bed on a nursing unit. It’s a pretty surreal situation at this point with little reason to believe it will get better in the immediate future.”