Alabama health leaders say hospitals can’t take much more

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise with now almost 2,900 people hospitalized across the state.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the current state of our hospital systems is a crisis. He said he does not know how much longer hospitals will be able to do this with the current COVID-19 case rate.

Alabama’s percent positivity is among the highest in the country, sitting at a little over 23%. Dr. Harris said less than 5% is what it needs to be at.

He said COVID-19 deaths are also increasing over the last two to three weeks, with 50 deaths reported to the state on August 26.

Harris said out of the hospitalizations, 45 are children and ICU beds are still in the negatives.

There are 1,562 ICU beds statewide, but right now, we have more than 1,600 people needing to be in the ICU.

“We don’t normally have these kinds of numbers,” Harris said. “We have a net negative 40 ICU beds. That is not normal. That has never happened before. I mean that has never happened before. I guess if you don’t know someone personally, it’s easy to dismiss it and pretend it’s not going on, but it is really happening.”

Dr. Harris said since there are more people in need of critical care than the state has beds for, that means more than 40 people are getting their ICU and critical care in emergency rooms or hallways on a gurney.

Harris said the sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner this situation will improve.

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