DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Two weeks ago Southeast Health was the first hospital in the state to receive medical assistance from the Department of Defense.

For months now, Southeast has been struggling with COVID hospitalizations rising and a staff shortage and as Southeast Health Director of Emergency Services, Joseph Mcneal says this team arrived at the perfect time to assist Southeast fight the battle against COVID-19.

“It’s put more hands on deck,” Mcneal said. “So we’ve been able to open up more critical care beds, do some different things in the emergency department, to allow us to improve through out and get patients evaluated and in and out of the system quicker.”

In addition to the relief provided by this military medical personnel, Southeast Health is seeing a drop in COVID numbers.

Where just a few weeks ago they saw the highest numbers they’d ever seen, now they are sitting below 100 hospitalizations.

“You know, I think that people are going back to the mask wearing, people going to get the vaccine,” Mcneal said. “I think those things have helped with the decrease in those numbers.”

Mcneal says that even though they are seeing a decrease in cases, people are still getting sick with the virus and average around 21 days in the hospital.

He says that it’s up to the community to stop the spread of the virus.

“It’s up to the community to help us with that,” Mcneal said. “Again mask wearing, getting your vaccination, things like that will help us continue to see that decline.”