Alabama has most hospitalized COVID-19 patients since pandemic began
By Cassie Fambro | July 27, 2020 at 9:40 PM CDT - Updated July 27 at 10:18 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB shattered its hospitalization record Monday with 116 patients currently receiving treatment in its COVID-19 wards.
It's not just UAB, hospitals all over the state are reporting surges and implementing plans to increase bed space.
The biggest issue facing hospitals right now isn't space for patients, it's staff to take care of them.
“We set a new record today in terms of numbers of patients hospitalized from COVID 19, 1,599,” said Dr. Don Williamson, President of the Alabama Hospital Association and former state health officer.
That includes a growing number of COVID-19 patients who require intensive care.
“We also had the fewest ICU beds available in the state that we’ve ever had,” said Williamson.
The increase in COVID-19 patients is straining hospitals... like officials have long warned.
“The rate limiting issue for all of us is not going to be physical building, thank god it’s not been ventilators, it’s going to be staff,” he said.
Staff are working more hours, longer hours and under more stress than ever. Hospitals are actively recruiting nurses, but so are many other states.
“Everybody is working in various ways to maximize staffing, but staffing is going to be the rate limit,” said Williamson.
In Alabama alone, 5,000 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 themselves, leaving them out of the mix for at least two weeks at a time.
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