Hospitals get creative to create more bed space for COVID positive patients

DCH ICU bed concerns

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The number of COVID positive patients in Alabama hospitals continues to stretch the state’s healthcare system to the breaking point. Some hospitals are doing what they can to create more bed space.

There are now 2,170 people are now hospitalized in Alabama with COVID-19, according to the President of the Alabama Hospital Association Don Williamson.

“The numbers are going up. We have the fewest number of ICU beds available that we’ve ever had. We now have more COVID patients in ICU than we’ve ever had. We now have more COVID patients than we’ve ever had,” Williamson explained.

He called the situation for the state’s hospitals dire and only getting worse. More than 4,000 people in Alabama were diagnosed with coronavirus Thursday.

“Probably 400 to 500 of those folks are going to be in hospitals a week from now,” He added.

According spokesman Andy North, Marketing Communications VP for the DCH Health System, DCH in Tuscaloosa listed 137 patients hospitalized with the virus.

North explained how they they’re turning regular patient rooms into negative pressure rooms to care for more COVID-19 patients.

“We brought in a whole bunch of commercial, portable air filtration systems. We took out some of the smaller windows in those rooms and crafted exhaust systems so that the air can be exhausted directly outside,” he explained.

Williamson repeated how one hospital administrator described the situation when there were fewer people who need care just a week ago.

“We are holding on by our fingernails. But we can manage what we have. What we can not do is deal with continued expansion of cases,” Williamson went on to say.

Williamson suggests some pharmaceuticals given to COVID positive patients within the first 72 hours could ease hospitalization numbers. The problem with that, is there isn’t enough of to go around.

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