Confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus are at an all-time high in West Alabama, and DCH Health System is reporting staggering numbers of patients hospitalized for treatment of the virus.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, December 8, DCH was treating 138 for COVID-19, with 33 of those patients in the Intensive Care Unit and 15 requiring a ventilator.

DCH Vice President of Marketing and Communications Andy North shared this data to the West Alabama COVID-19 Information Group on Facebook yesterday afternoon. I noticed that a member of the group commented on Andy North's post, asking him what West Alabama residents could do to help reduce the rapid spread of the virus.

His reply was a wake-up call for me.

"Right now the best thing each individual can do is take responsibility for their own safety and have a selfless attitude towards protecting the safety of others. If ever there were a time to wear a mask, stay home, maintain distance and wash hands, it is now," North posted.

Are we all doing enough to prevent the spread of this deadly virus? If I am being totally honest, I don't think I have been responsible as I could have been.

I've visited bars and restaurants. I've gone to visit friends and family, and yes, I've even been guilty of popping into the gas station and forgetting my mask. I have been a part of the problem.

I know we all want this pandemic to end and I am so thankful that a vaccine is on the way, but until this vaccine is widely available, we have to get serious about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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