EAMC graph

The number of patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center with COVID-19 continues to ebb and flow, but the numbers are significantly lower than they were a month ago.

There were 29 patients hospitalized between EAMC and EAMC-Lanier Tuesday, a decrease of five since Monday, according to hospital data.

“Having the community’s support certainly helped contain COVID when we were peaking 6 weeks ago,” said Dr. Ricardo Maldonado, an infectious disease specialist at EAMC. “I’m glad our numbers are lower now and hope our residents will help us keep them low during this pivotal time. Reopening the country has to be done gradually and smart, obviously we can be a hot spot again anytime in just a matter of weeks.”

May 17 saw the highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with 40 patients since May 1 when there were 54 patients hospitalized.

Hospital officials say that there are new COVID- 19 hot spots within Alabama, including Montgomery, Mobile and Tuscaloosa.

“We feel for our friends in those areas right now,” Maldonado said. “We know what it’s like and we hope that residents in those areas will listen to their local health officials to help slow the spread.”

There were 1,751 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mobile County, 907 in Montgomery County and 387 in Tuscaloosa County as of 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

These three counties accounted for the top three highest numbers of new cases in the past few days in the state, EAMC said.

Locally, there were 329 confirmed cases of COVID- 19 in Chambers County, 450 in Lee County, 54 in Macon County, 109 in Russell County and 371 in Tallapoosa County as of 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to ADPH.

There were 12,376 confirmed cases and 504 COVID-19-related deaths in Alabama as of 4:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Opelika stores

Opelika’s mayor is amending an executive order, which limits the number of customers in retail and grocery stores within the city limits.

Mayor Gary Fuller amended Executive Order 01-20 to increase the capacity of retail and grocery stores to 50 percent of the state fire capacity, the city announced Tuesday.

The 50 percent capacity limit doesn’t apply to employees.

Stores are still required to count the number of customers entering and exiting the store, the order states.

The change went into effect 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain in effect until rescinded by Mayoral Order.

EAMC CEO

EAMC President and CEO Laura Grill was named one of the top five hospital administrators during the COVID-19 pandemic by an Indianapolis emergency physician.

Grill was one of 22,000 nominations by emergency room physicians made through a closed Facebook group.

Dr. Louis M. Profeta then published an article for LinkedIn Pulse Magazine titled “The Top Five Hospital Administrators During the COVID-19 Pandemic as Determine by the Emergency Physicians Who Staff Their ERs,” naming Grill as one of the top five, EAMC said.

Grill was fifth on the list with Steve Edwards of Springfield, Mo., taking the top spot.

Lori Weston of Park City, Utah, came in second, Steve Long of Greenfield, Ind., came in third and Dr. Dennis McKenna of Albany, N.Y, came in fourth.

Grill said she was unaware of her nomination by was grateful to be recognized but points to the rest of the EAMC team as being the reason for the hospital’s success.

“We’ve never worked through a situation where literally every employee had to pitch in through one way or another,” she said. “The response throughout the organization has been one of total cooperation and buy-in. I could not be more proud of our physicians and employees working together, supporting each other, and stepping into unfamiliar roles during this time.”

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