BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama hospitals across the state are seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients. While those numbers dropped from a summer high, in-patient care is trending upward.
In August, Alabama hospitals saw numbers hit close to 1,500. Until recently, the patient load dropped off to the 700 level. But on Monday, COVID patients again topped the 1,000 mark.
Hospital leaders believe those numbers will continue to increase even higher, putting a strain on those facilities.
Back during the summer in August, DCH in Tuscaloosa saw its COVID-19 numbers hit 100. The patients decreased, but recently the hospital has been seeing those numbers rise again.
“We were about 40 or so with inpatients that were positive with COVID. In the last few days, our numbers are on the rise with low sixties to low seventies at any given time,” said Andy North, VP of Marketing and Communications for DCH System.
The Alabama Hospital Association is alarmed at the jump in patient load. Wednesday, it was 1,001 hospitalized across the state.
“Unless something changes, we are on a path - unless something changes over the next two weeks - back up to 1,500 cases,” said Dr. Don Williamson, Executive Director of the Alabama Hospital Association.
The 1,500 case number was a summertime high in August.
Williamson said hospitals handled that patient load, but there are concerns about flu patients. “We could be filling up 2,000 beds a day in Alabama hospitals with respiratory illnesses and that may be workable,” Williamson said.
DCH Systems meets daily to look at their options. “Is our staff OK? Do we have enough? We are fortunate to bring in some extra help in the form of traveling nurses,” North said.
Williamson believes those numbers will be increasing. He said it will be on people in Alabama to continue more than ever to wear face coverings and social distance as COVID numbers go up as they are starting to see flu cases across the state.