ICU beds in Alabama called crisis situation

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 8:27 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama hospitals continue to see a historic shortage of ICU beds. The latest numbers means there are more patients than there are beds available.

Alabama Health leaders are calling it a crisis as the number of COVID patients continue to increase in state hospitals. This is leading to a growing number demanding ICU beds and that is on top of other patients who also need intensive care.

“It’s bad. Yesterday we were minus 81 ICU beds,” Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama Hospital Association said.

There are 1,542 ICU beds available in Alabama and the head of the Alabama Hospital Association said Monday there was 1,623 patients needing ICU beds.

“I’m just not seeing anything right now that leads me to believe we are going to see any sort of long term plateauing,” Williamson said

To put it into perspective, Williamson said in January during the height of the pandemic hospitals took in 200 more patients than they are now but the demand for ICU beds is higher. Williamson said hospitals are doing what they can to provide space for ICU beds.

Efforts to send patients out of state is hard because it’s difficult to find empty beds.

“That hospital is going to provide them the best care they can under the circumstance. They may not be able to be transferred to another hospital for a higher level of care because there is not a bed to transfer,” Williamson said.

Efforts to get federal help for staffing is also not looking good.

“Especially when there are many other states in south in the same position we are. You go Louisiana that is not only dealing with a COVID disaster but they are dealing with a hurricane,” Williamson said.

Williamson hoped some people who are eligible can get the monoclonal antibody treatment to keep them out of the hospital. Williamson added it doesn’t look like the state is going to peak in COIVD cases or hospitalizations by Labor Day which some hoped to see.

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