BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama hospitals continue to say COVID-19 cases will rise and take up more of their regular beds and ICU beds. It’s feared those numbers will start hitting all time highs later this week and next week.
For the most part, hospitals told WBRC FOX6 News they are seeing more COVID cases take up their beds. So far they can handle it, but the number of positive cases continues to rise after the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. More beds are expected to be in demand.
Monday, Alabama hit a record number of hospitalizations with 1,500. The head of the Alabama Hospital Association expects that number will be eclipsed later this week or next week as more confirmed COVID cases are reported.
“My fear is by the end of the week we will have 1,700 patients in hospitals and by next week we could have 2,000 in hospitals,” Don Williamson, Executive Director of the Alabama Hospital Association said.
UAB Hospital said they have about 105 COVID patients Tuesday. If more beds are needed, they can add on more beds.
Grandview Medical Center said their patients are restricted in the hospital and there are adequate ventilators. St. Vincents has capacity to treat more patients. Still, Williamson is worried.
“None of our hospitals are turning people away. Now I will say things are not moving in the right direction in hospitals. I expect hospitals numbers will continue to worsen,” Williamson said.
Small rural hospitals are expected to continue to make deferrals of patients to larger urban facilities according to Williamson. He hopes the mandatory face mask order will start making a difference.
“It will only work as long as people wear masks. So I think if we start down this road with the mask order, we are going to have to keep it up until we have this thing under control,” Williamson continued.
He says it’s still too soon to see if the mask ordinance is working. Montgomery has seen some drop in cases, but it’s rising again.