Witham sees less COVID-19 hospitalizations

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\Witham Hospital Services reported it did not have more than two COVID-19 hospitalizations in August and September at any one time, a continued trend in declining COVID-19 hospital admissions in Boone County.

Witham Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Cartwright said the hospital had no COVID-19 patients for more than half of September, and didn’t have more than one patient at a time.

“It has been months since we’ve had anyone on a ventilator,” Cartwright said. “People are not being hospitalized with any regularity in this county.”

In March, when the World Health Organization first declared the new coronavirus a pandemic, Witham created a COVID-19-specific unit by allotting half of its ICU beds to a sequestered area. Cartwright said there were times when five or six of the eight ICU beds in the COVID-19 unit were filled.

Although the county continues to report more positive COVID-19 cases each week, the county hasn’t reported a death since late July. Fifty-one county residents have died of COVID-19. From Sept. 19-25, the Boone County Health Dept. reported 29 additional COVID-19 cases. The week prior, the department reported 38 additional cases. In total, 1,049 cases have been reported in the county, according to the BCHD.

“August and September have just trickled off to almost nothing,” Cartwright said of county COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Hospital stays have been cut shorter thanks in part to advances in therapeutics, Cartwright said. The hospital uses remdesivir and dexamethasone to combat the effects of the disease.

Cartwright said, however, that the hospital has not needed to use either drug lately because of the low number of hospitalizations. He said most of the hospitalized patients in the last two months have not needed to be admitted to the ICU, and they have not reported respiratory concerns.

According to Cartwright, the hospital has been well supplied with personal protective equipment, testing materials and therapeutics, further allowing it to treat patients more efficiently. He added that the school districts in Boone County have created thorough mitigation plans that have helped prevent any surges in COVID-19 cases since schools reopened.


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