Jefferson County Healthcare Coalition monitoring evolving coronavirus situation

ICU levels and hospital beds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County health leaders are keeping a close eye on the evolving coronavirus situation and its impact on the eight acute hospitals in the area that treat COVID patients. Right now, most are managing things surge wise.

“Most of the hospitals are still in phase 1. We do have a few that are in phase 2, so they are looking at other areas to expand patient care to,” said Julie Cobb, the Jefferson County Healthcare Coalition coordinator.

Here is a look at the capacity numbers (as of Wednesday at noon) according to the Jefferson County Healthcare Coalition:

· 13% availability for adult ICU beds, adult med surge and acute care

· Around 21% capacity for COVID-19 acute care

· 8% capacity for COVID-19 ICU care

The capacity numbers are not unusual according to Cobb.

“Just for some comparison, we may have been at the same level when we had the flu surge back in January 2018, so it’s not unusual to see these numbers, but it does cause you to have to look into your plans. You have to go to a different level in your plans,” Cobb said.

The healthcare coalition is meeting every day keeping a check on COVID numbers and talking about where to possibly move people should the need arise.

So what happens if we see a surge in cases and there’s an overflow of patients? Plans have been in place since March to set up temporary medical facilities at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Birmingham, the BJCC and other facilities. It’s something healthcare leaders hope they don’t have to use, but are prepared to do so.

“We are convinced as a team that our patients can get the best care within a hospital right now with the circumstances that we have. So all of our focus right now is expanding the care within the hospital walls,” Cobb said.

Cobb tells us since COVID impacts a lot of things, they’re working with area partners to try and lessen the burden on the healthcare system.

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