Strain on Alabama hospitals continues, including Dothan

Flowers Hospital breaks COVID inpatient record, caring for 71.
On Wednesday, Flowers Hospital cared for 71 COVID positive patients, 25 are in ICU. This is the...
On Wednesday, Flowers Hospital cared for 71 COVID positive patients, 25 are in ICU. This is the highest number reported from the hospital, even during what was believed the peak of the pandemic.(WTVY - Kinsley Centers)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:37 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Alabama is breaking COVID records, the state is out of ICU beds and hospitals are struggling to find space and equipment to keep up with the demand. Health officials say they have “never seen this before.”

Alabama hospitals are caring for 2,731 hospitalized COVID patients. When it comes to critical care, there simply isn’t enough space. On Wednesday, the state has a negative 29 ICU bed status. This does not mean 29 people can’t get care, it just means Alabama is out of traditional ICU beds and these people are being cared for in other areas due to capacity.

Flowers Hospital tells News 4 they are adapting hour-by-hour. They’ve even opened a new area to help care for patients.

“What you’re seeing right now is real,” Jeff Brannon, CEO Flowers Hospital, said.

On Wednesday, Flowers Hospital cared for 71 COVID positive patients, 25 are in ICU.

“The only way that we’re going to continue to get through this pandemic is for the community to listen and to help us help them,” Brannon said. “We want to be here, and we’re going to be here to take care of people, regardless of their need and their time of need.”

Brannon said this is a record high for the hospital, surpassing the prior record set in January which was 67.

“We’ve been able to cover the spread as we call it, which means you know pulling a nurse from one location, getting people that are trained clinically that may be in a nonclinical job right now,” Brannon said. “It’s all hands-on deck.”

Putting providers in the lobby to quickly help new patients

“You’re safe to come to our hospital,” Brannon said. “We very much want you not putting off emergency needs.”

Alabama has a 23.8 percent positivity rate and Dr. Don Williamson, Alabama Hospital Association President, said the state has not peaked.

“This is a problem for all of us,” Dr. Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson said. this is truly uncharted territory

“None of us know if we’re going to have a stroke, a heart attack, have an automobile accident on the way home,” Dr. Williamson said. “Individuals who end up at the hospital will be taken care of. Let me be very clear on that, but it may mean that instead of being whisked away to the ICU immediately on presentation, you may find yourself being managed in the ER for an extended period of time before a bed becomes available. It may mean that your definitive care may not be available at the hospital that you go to. You may end up finding yourself having to be transferred because there literally is not room.”

Hospitals will continue to fight.

“Our team has really worked diligently throughout these past 18 months to be sure that we’re standing up, we’re standing strong, to be able to take care of this community that needs us so badly right now,” Brannon said.

Dr. Williamson said Alabama has no issue with ventilators or PPE. But hospitalizations are expected to continue to rise. 85 percent of COVID hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, Dr. Williamson said this could have been prevented if Alabama had higher vaccination levels.

Brannon reminds people early detection is critical. By doing so, patients could be eligible for Monoclonal Antibody treatment. So far, Flowers Hospital has administered over 1,300 doses to eligible patients.

Click here to read more.

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