Omicron variant putting strain on hospitals across the state

Who is in the hospital with COVID?
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:06 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:10 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The surge in COVID-19 cases is putting a strain on hospitals across the state.

Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association tells us staffing is the biggest issue right now as COVID cases continue to rise. He says the stress on the hospital system is probably greater than the Delta variant surge because of the staffing issues. He’s hoping they’ll be able to work through it all.

“We’ve handled that before with staff taking on more patients and working extra shifts. I mean we have hospitals now that are paying a $1,000 bonus to people who will simply work an extra shift. So we’ll do what we have to do to manage through this,” Dr. Williamson said.

We know a majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, but who else is ending up on the list?

About 20% of the people in the hospital now come in for something else and then test positive for COVID according Williamson. He says nurses and staff put on protective equipment just like they would if someone comes in with just COVID.

“It is a distinction without a difference from the hospital’s perspective. If you have COVID, you’ve got COVID. You may also have a heart attack, you may have a gunshot wound. We’re going to treat you for what you have, we’re going to protect the population for your COVID and our patients and staff,” Williamson said.

Williamson says COVID-19 is a reportable disease meaning it has to be reported to the state or local officials, then those incidental cases are lumped in with the overall numbers.

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