BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Christmas Day was two weeks ago and the state of Alabama is now seeing COVID numbers jump because of the holiday.
It’s a scary time for hospitals, which are cutting back on other healthcare services for patients to take care of COVID patients. Those numbers are not expected to drop for weeks as the New Year’s holiday is another fear.
Alabama hospitals are scrambling to keep up with demand for bed space as COVID patients come into emergency rooms and ICU beds.
“Yesterday, we set a record low for ICU beds. We had only 3% available ICU beds statewide which was 57 ICU beds,” Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama Hospital Association said.
Willliamson said the state is seeing about three COVID patients a day and between four to five thousand positive COVID cases a day. The head of the Alabama Hospital Association expected the trend will continue until at least mid-February. Hospitals are having to make tough decisions.
“As we are having to cancel hip replacements, those sorts of things. We’re having to cancel because we don’t have the room or staff up in the hospital,” Williamson said.
Some patients who may need hospitalizations are being treated at home. Health leaders at the Jefferson County Health Department say people still have to do their part.
“It is something we have to do - slow the spread down. It is more important than ever to avoid gatherings, washing hands and wearing a facial covering out in public,” Dr. Wesley Willeford with the Jefferson County Department of Health said.
Vaccinations are happening, but that will take time. There is hope in a month or so the numbers will decline. Williamson and others are concerned about the spread of the variant virus which is more contagious. That mean more people getting infected, getting hospitalized, and unfortunately dying.