Five children are currently in Huntsville Hospital Women and Children’s with coronavirus.
David Spillers, Hospital CEO, announced Wednesday 121 people are in the hospital system across North Alabama. That’s six additional patients since Monday.
Spillers said the youngest coronavirus patient in the hospital is 4 months old, which means the child was born during the pandemic and now has caught the virus.
“I think that probably the news today is we now have five children that are COVID positive that are in the hospital, so if you think this doesn’t affect young people it actually does affect young people. Some of those children are only months old. It’s the first time we have seen that during the pandemic. One is a 4-year-old who has been receiving cancer treatment is now COVID positive,” he said.
Spillers said he has concerns about how these children have contracted the virus.
“I feel very confident the outcomes will be good for those children. We haven’t seen that before, and I think it’s just a direct result of more COVID in the community in people engaging around children and infecting them,” he said.
Spillers said they have plenty of Personal Protective Equipment, but keeping staff well to have health care workers to treat patients is a concern.
Spillers said ventilators are not an issue right now and explained there are about 100 in reserve.
“I think one of the things that has changed during this pandemic is that fewer people are on ventilators now than were early in the process,” he said.
“I have no earthly idea why, but that’s a good thing. ICU beds are always tight particularly in our level one trauma center because we take care of such a large region. But right now we are able to reallocate beds as needed to get patients in those beds.”
He said they altered one floor in the hospital to add 24 ICU beds because that floor is set up with ICU capability.
Spillers said he is happy Gov. Kay Ivey left the Safer at Home order in place, but he was hoping for more regulation.
He wants to see Ivey put a statewide face covering mandate in place.
“You don’t get to go into a restaurant if you don’t have on shoes. Why do you get to go into a building without a mask on?” he said.
“I think we can start changing people’s mindset on that one. I have watched some of the people come to council meetings and react about the thought of having to put a mask on. They just go ballistic over that.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he thinks face masks will be a mandate at some point in the future.
“Face masks, I think are coming to us. Let me say this, face masks will not be the silver bullet we are looking for,” Battle said.
“Once face masks come COVID-19 will still be out there. It will still have a change of being passed person to person. If you don’t separate, if you don’t sanitize. If you’re not careful you could be one of the next patients.”
With children now hospitalized, Spillers had this message to anyone who is against wearing a face covering: “I challenge people who resist wearing face coverings to think about this the next time you resist wearing face coverings. Anybody can have COVID. Anyone can give COVID to anyone else because in many cases you could be asymptomatic. If the thought of you accidentally giving COVID to someone, particularly a child with cancer, is not enough reason to put on a face cover, then I don’t know what is.”