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COVID-19 pandemic stressing hospitals. Is there a breaking point?

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 10:58 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The pandemic is stressing the healthcare system locally with ICU’s filling up, staffing challenges and other issues. We asked health experts if there’s a breaking point.

For days now, less than 10% of adult and COVID ICU’s have been available in Jefferson County. At one point last week, only 1 ICU was available.

Hospitals are also making more room to treat patients while dealing with staffing challenges. More than 600 COVID-19 patients are being treated in Birmingham area hospitals. That’s a 50% increase over the maximum number of patients from the summer. We asked Jefferson County’s health officer how much more can the healthcare system take?

“I don’t really know the answer to that question…but I think you are going to see a higher chance that..if you end up with an emergency at home and you need to call an ambulance, the chances of there being a delay or not getting help when you need it are going up,” Dr. Mark Wilson, health officer with the Jefferson County Health Department said.

Tuesday, in an open letter to the community, Birmingham area hospitals say now more than ever, the community needs to help fight against this pandemic.

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