DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A local COVID-19 response press conference was held by the Dothan City Commission Chambers with Mayor Mark Saliba and Commission Chairman Mark Culver speaking on the city’s plans for continuing COVID-19 precautions.
“We are here this afternoon to provide you an update on COVID-19 as it relates to our community, the city of Dothan and Houston County,” said, Dothan City Mayor, Mark Saliba.
Saliba started off thanking both hospital groups, Alabama Department of Public Health, EMA, Chairman Culver, and the city manager and staff at the civic center that are all working together to work through this pandemic.
“We recognize that there are two issues that hospitals are facing across the country as well as here. That would be staffing issues and that would be capacity issues. The ability to take on more and more patients,” Saliba said.
Chairman Mark Culver said the press conference was to make the community aware of the situation the medical facilities are in and give an update on alternate site locations if the hospitals reach maximum capacity.
“Should something happen, they become overrun we could put additional patients, we’re nowhere near that yet but certainly the issue is critical with the hospitals. But we are prepared and the city and county and health department have all come together to be prepared in case something like that were to happen,” said Mark Culver, the Houston County Commission Chairman.
Saliba says the alternate sites that have been decided on are, the Eye Surgery Center, the Surgery Center South, and Westgate gym. But this is only if the situation gets worse and hospitals have reached max capacity. For now, hospital staffing is a concern.
“Part of the problem is having staff to maintain to oversee all of these patients, they are really struggling and we need to help them all we can and we just wanted to be sure that they knew that in case something does come about, we don’t really believe will, but just in case that we’ve got their back,” Culver said.
Currently, there is no plan to shut down the cities, just a continuing push to have citizens wear masks, social distance, and stay home unless absolutely necessary to go out.