Nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, local hospitals at limits 

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Nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported the previous week in Madison County.

Baptist Health Richmond is experiencing its highest number of positive patients since the pandemic began — which has them at the brink of not being able to effectively care for those in the community.

In a social media post made on Monday, the health department reported 978 cases of COVID-19 following the week of Sept. 13 through Sept. 19.

The current incidence rate for Madison County is 138.575 cases per 100,000 population. The county reported 181 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with a 7-day rolling average of 139 a day.

“These high numbers represent an alarming situation. These numbers are higher than any time last year,” said Kelley McBride, public information officer for the Madison County Health Department in a press release.

Due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases, providers and MCHD staff are delayed in submitting and reporting new cases. Daily counts are not complete due to this delay, but the total number of cases reported Monday is based on the current number reported for the week at the time of the posting.

The health department shared, at this time, it is critical for residents of Madison County to be informed of this drastic increase in the number of cases. The priority is to understand the need to get vaccinated, wear a mask and to stay at home if you have been diagnosed and/or a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case. The numbers will continue to increase if these efforts are not made by the public, health department representatives noted in a statement.

While the daily number breakdown was not made available by the department, they stated the local healthcare providers are overwhelmed with an already strained workforce.

This was confirmed by Sara Stringfield, marketing director at Baptist Health Richmond.

The facility is currently treating 37 patients — the highest number since the pandemic began. Two of the individuals are vaccinated, and 35 are not. Seven individuals are in the intensive care unit, all of whom are unvaccinated.

“As of today, Baptist Health Richmond is caring for 37 COVID-19 positive patients, the most since this pandemic began early last year. At this time we are forced to utilize alternative areas in the hospital to care for patients such as our Same Day Surgery department. Patients are strongly encouraged to seek care at the appropriate site for care to reduce the stress on the emergency department. Unless a patient is experiencing a true emergency such as chest pains or shortness of breath, we ask them to seek care at Urgent Care or utilize Virtual Care. We remain steadfast in asking our community to wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distant and get a COVID-19 vaccine. Without our community’s support and collaboration, we are at the brink of being unable to effectively care for our patients in the same way we are all accustomed,” said Erica Gregonis, MD, Baptist Health Richmond chief medical officer.

In addition, another death has been recorded for a total of 125 individuals lost to COVID-19 in the county. Since the pandemic arrived in March of 2020, there have been 13,705 positive cases confirmed for the area.

The vaccination rate for the county is still below 50% with only 48.3% of residents vaccinated against the virus.

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