BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The state of Alabama is running out of beds to treat critically ill patients.
The president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said 84% of ICU beds are in use today. He said there are only 259 ICU beds available in the state of Alabama, and that speaks to the dire situation we’re in with COVID-19.
“We are not successful in slowing the spread of this virus in Alabama,” said Dr. Williamson.
He said there are 1,653 ICU beds in the state of Alabama, but only 16% of them are available. And while that number is alarming to some, he said it’s only a marker of a much bigger problem.
“We need people to understand just because you can do something, does not mean you should do something. Just because you can go out and congregate in large groups, does not mean that’s a good idea. Just engaging in the things we’ve talked about now for what seems like a lifetime, but certainly for the last 4 to 5 months, that’s the only way we’re going to get ahead of this,” Dr. Williamson explained.
Dr. Williamson has been hammering the point of wearing a mask to not only protect ourselves, but also our neighbors, staying six feet apart, and frequently washing our hands, steps he said are critical, especially as we head into the July 4th weekend.
“What I’m worried about now is, we continue to have 600 people in the hospital we continue to have 400 to 500, 600 cases a day through the rest of the summer, and we bring our kids back to school in August, now we have created an opportunity for a much more rapid expansion of the pandemic and then that goes into the fall and then you add in influenza on top of it, that to me is the nightmare scenario,” Dr. Williamson said.
Every hospital has surge capacity, meaning there are other spaces where critically ill patients can be taken care of.
However, Dr. Williamson said hospitals have never had to deal with two massive outbreaks at the same time, so he’s hoping COVID-19 will be under control before flu season begins.