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Records of the wrong kind

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
COVID-19 has broken several records in a bad way for our region.

This news was revealed during Ballad Health’s weekly media briefing on Wednesday.

Eric Deaton, Chief Operating Officer, detailed that in the last few days, the region has seen the following record-breaking numbers:

The highest number of new cases in one day: 650
The highest number of new cases in one week: 3,246
THE highest positivity rate in new cases: 19.2 percent
The highest number of in-patients in one day: 253
Deaton emphasized how bad these records are to shatter, and expressed concern over cases getting worse each week. He also stressed that these numbers of cases are not just numbers, they are people.

To further illustrate the impact of COVID-19, Ballad Health team member Alison Johnson served as a guest speaker.

Johnson is the director of nursing at JCMC. She has overseen the COVID-19 units since March.

“The days and weeks have grown longer, and Friday was no different,” she began. “We had just opened our fifth COVID unit that week.”

Johnson appealed to viewers about seeing COVID through a front-line worker’s eyes.

“I wish you could see what we see. I wish you could feel what we feel,” she said. “Every day is like a battlefield. How, oh how can this be real?”

Johnson spoke about feelings of loneliness and tears being shed. She urged viewers to open their minds and do their part, noting that skeptics of the virus only make things that much worse.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 18, there are 246 individuals receiving in-patient care, with 41 in the ICU and 29 on ventilators. There are six PUIs. Additionally, there are 250 Ballad team members in quarantine.

Jamie Swift, Chief Infection Prevention Officer, spoke next. She explained how dangerous spreading misinformation and disregarding guidelines can be. Additionally, she stated that the information being provided by Ballad Health is not fear-mongering.

Swift next spoke on the topic of Thanksgiving, urging people to use caution and only dine with members of their immediate household.

“I know this is hard,” she said.

Swift challenged viewers to help ensure that this Thanksgiving dinner won’t cause someone to have their last due to the virus.

While a vaccine for COVID-19 is in the better future for the area, it is not here just yet.

Officials urged taking advantage of the vaccine we do have, the flu shot, to help reduce cases in the area and protect the already challenged healthcare system.

Deaton showed the latest models of the virus and spoke on expected increases in cases over the next several weeks. Among these models, he showed deaths.

In October, Ballad Health had 82 in-house deaths related to the virus. This month, which is still early on, has already had 38 deaths.

For the latest information from Ballad Health, go to www.balladhealth.org.