CoxHealth Updates COVID-19 Testing Totals; CEO Comments on Layoffs & Disease Spread

In a social media posting Wednesday, CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards provided an update on the testing for COVID-19 conducted by CoxHealth.

Steve Edwards said as of Wednesday afternoon, the system has had 78 positive tests and 5,230 negative tests conducted for a 1.5% positive rate. They had a total of 30 COVID-19 admissions: 20 discharged to their homes, 7 deaths, and 3 current cases.

Cox also had 252 pending COVID-19 tests. They had been averaging just over a day to return results of tests.

Edwards mentioned that 120 employees had been reassigned to other work but that total layoffs equaled zero. The comment comes a day after media outlets reported on over a hundred employees being fired by Mercy.

Responding to a comment regarding Cox’s not laying off workers, Edwards responded he wasn’t sure it was the right thing but he was staying true to his beliefs.

“I am not sure we are doing the right thing from a business perspective,” Edwards posted. “I hope so. When this industry gets complicated, I often rely upon the advice of my father. ‘Do what is fair and right for employees, the rest will sort itself out’.”

Another commenter asked about the increase of the disease in the community in the next few weeks due to decreased social distancing and wearing of masks, leading Edwards to say he sees an increase ahead.

“The risk of the disease spreading will likely increase due to less physical distancing/low masking rate,” Edwards wrote. “There may be a seasonality component that might soften the summer rates. If you are at high risk I would not presume it is safer.”

Edwards noted they have received tracing data that shows the situations where transmission is higher.

“Contact tracing data is leading us to believe the greatest risk is sustained elbow to elbow, face to face contact for longer duration,” Edwards wrote. “Think of meatpacking, public transportation, churches, funerals, etc.”

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