As confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus continue to climb in Tuscaloosa, DCH is seeing a record number of patients who require hospitalization as part of their treatment plan.

DCH Vice President of Marketing and Communications Andy North shared the health care provider's current hospitalization counts Friday, December 11, along with a plea to local residents.

"In the past week the numbers of COVID-19 positive individuals who have needed inpatient care have significantly increased. This increase has put a substantial strain on the system," North said.

The recent increase in COVID-19 patients has created longer wait times in the emergency departments at DCH, and North asked for the public's understanding during this frustrating time. North also requested that residents avoid the ER unless seeking care in critical situations.

"If your situation is not urgent, please consider visiting your primary care doctor or an urgent care. Additionally, if you feel you might have COVID-19 but your symptoms are not severe, then please visit our remote site for testing rather than coming to the Emergency Department," North said.

As of Friday, December 11, DCH was treating a record 151 inpatients for COVID-19. 30 of those patients are in the intensive care unit, and 10 of those patients have been placed on a ventilator.

As always, North reminds the public to do their part in mitigating the spread of the virus.

"Please wear a mask. Please avoid gatherings. Please socially distance and please wash your hands regularly. A little help will go a long way," he said.

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