Dr. Holm  ByronThe County Health Officer, Dr. Byron Holm addressed the County Commissioners, elected officials and department heads at a meeting Friday morning.

Holm said on Thursday the active number of COVID-19 cases in Marshall County was 612.  That is 612 citizens who have tested positive and are in their 14 day period.  Just 4 weeks ago there were only 40 active cases in the county.  This is a rapid increase in positive cases in the last 2 weeks.

The LifePlex has drive through testing, by appointment, behind their facility and they are testing 120 to over 200 individuals a day.   Those administering the test tell Dr. Holm that many look extremely ill and sick.

On Thursday, between the two hospitals there were 72 people hospitalized with COVID-19.   The day before that number was 80.  This means the hospitals are at their capacity of beds.  Holm said, “Emergent cases are being placed on a waiting list at the present time.  Several hospitals in the area are on diversion, which means they can’t take any more patients so when the ambulance calls in they are diverted to another hospital that has space.

Doctor Holm said, “Twenty percent of all the positive cases of COVID have a chance of ending up in the hospital one or more days.  So, if you quickly multiply 612 times 20% and know that number could reach 120 people.  We don’t have the capacity to handle that at the present time.  That’s just Marshall County.”

Holm said some people are talking about herd immunity.  He said, “Herd immunity, to put it in prospective, we are about 5 to 6% infected at the present time.   Herd Immunity is reached at 70%.   To put that in a better prospective for you, at our current death rate in Marshall County, which is now 35 people.  You would have to lose another 490 people to be at herd immunity.  That’s not acceptable to me.”

According to Doctor Holm the solution is community leadership and every person must take the lead.  “You need to all be part of the team.  Life is about working together,” Holm said.

During the presentation on Friday Holm said, “The treatment is simple but so hard for people to follow.  We are so use to a simple fix in a pill but the truth is that people don’t want to accept the longer road of prevention.”    He said “Prevention is the only viable option at this time.  It is the most effective treatment plan.  The solution is truly everybody doing their part.  Medicine and hospitals are no longer the front line. The community is the leader and the answer.  Medicine is the backline and a very poor one at that.  There is no simple one shot cure for this virus.  Prevention is the answer.”

Doctor Holm closed his statement saying, “The community is the solution.  I am not commanding them to mask up, social distance or sanitize regularly, but I am asking them to take a personal responsibility to be a servant to each other by protecting each other.”