COVID-19 contributes to notably higher death rate at local hospital

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — 183… 4,737… 1.8 Million. These numbers all represent COVID-19 deaths in 2020.

“It was pretty depressing coming to work in the beginning of the pandemic because it almost felt like every patient in the ICU were dying,” said Medical Director for Department of Hospital Medicine at Southeast Health, Dr. Ravi Nallamothu, MD.

Nallamothu says the mortality rate at the beginning of the pandemic was much higher than it is now, especially in patients requiring critical care or mechanical ventilation, leaving doctors feeling helpless. In total southeast health has seen 730 deaths in their hospital this year, that’s up about 100 from last year.

“We’ve had 183 deaths this year so far related to COVID-19,” said Nallamothu. “These are related to COVID-19 as long as patient had a covid-19 infection which resulted them to come to the hospital.”

Southeast health has a memorial garden dedicated to honoring the COVID-19 patients that recovered from the virus and patients who have passed. By the beginning of the summer, the death rates from COVID-19 began to drop because of the ability to deliver care and a better understanding of the disease, but there is still no cure. As of Wednesday, the state saw 4,737 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

“You are five times more likely to die if you are hospitalized with the COVID-19 in compared to the flu infection and 70 times more likely to develop complications from COVID compared to the flu,” Nallamothu said.

COVID-19 has a 3% mortality rate in comparison to the .6% mortality rate from the flu. Wednesday marked 1.8 million lives lost worldwide due to the novel coronavirus. Doctors are hoping by this time next year we will be able to return to a sense of normalcy if enough of the population gets vaccinated. 60-70% of the population would need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to reach immunity.

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