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Declining COVID case count eases emergency room burden

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 8:04 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As far back as December, hospitals began asking people to avoid the emergency room, if possible. Many were seeking COVID tests or treatment and beds were already in short supply.

The declining number of COVID cases has led to some emergency rooms finally seeing a break. Still, while the strain has lessened, challenges exist.

“We have seen some improvements, but we continue to face significant challenges managing the patients we still have in the hospital COVID-19,” said Grandview Medical Center Dr. Jeremy Rogers.

Still, it has gotten easier to get into the Grandview emergency room since the number of COVID cases began to decline.

“Fortunately, over the past two weeks, we have seen a decline in the number of patients coming into the emergency department, the number of patients getting admitted to the hospital with COVID-19,” said Dr. Jeremy Rogers.

But staffing shortages, and a lack of bed availability, remain key factors in the hospital’s ability to get people into the emergency room.

“All these factors unfortunately play together to create an extended wall time for EMS,” said Dr. Jeremy Rogers.

Dr. Rogers hopes wall times drop across Alabama, but says their current state is symbolic of the strained system.

“It is a reflection of just a tremendous bottleneck and gridlock within our system.”

Wall time is simply slang for wait times, and they vary across the state, but even with our positivity rate half of what it was back in January some ambulance workers stress wall times have not gone down at all. A sign hospitals are still strained.

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