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Alabama hospitals still battling Omicron COVID-19 surge

Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers are trending downwards, but that doesn’t mean hospitals are seeing...
Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers are trending downwards, but that doesn’t mean hospitals are seeing any relief.(Source: WVUE)
Published: Feb. 6, 2022 at 7:57 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers are trending downwards, but that doesn’t mean hospitals are seeing any relief.

“There remains a significant challenge with COVID in our hospitals,” President of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson said. “Clearly we are moving in the right direction, but we are moving very very slowly.”

Moving at a slow pace for most, Williamson said some hospitals are starting to see relief quicker than others.

“You find that some places like Birmingham that are beginning to see declines in their hospitalizations,” he said. “But, there are other parts of the state which may not have seen the upsurge at the same time, they are still lagging behind. They are still seeing much higher caseloads relative to other places.”

He said one challenge in every hospital is ICU bed capacity.

“If you don’t have an ICU bed or you are having to move patients out of an ICU bed and into another bed or if you don’t have staff for an ICU bed, it doesn’t really matter whether the patient is there with COVID or something else,” Williamson said. “It just takes time and that is a real challenge.”

Williamson said many emergency room wait times are still up too.

“We are going to have selective areas where we are going to have difficulty with people getting into an ICU bed in a timely manner,” he said. “We are going to have people waiting in the ED in order to get into a bed. We are probably also going to have places where it is very difficult to arrange transfer.”

Williamson said it will likely be weeks before it starts to get any better.

“I think this is clearly moving in the right direction, but I think we are a long way from being out of the woods,” Williamson said.

Williamson said there is still a high level of community transmission across the state. ADPH data shows as of February 6th, 2022, the percent positivity is at 29 percent.

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