Officials say Omicron impacting Alabama hospitals more than Delta variant

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 11:01 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As of January 17th, 2022, 2,204 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 across the state.

While those numbers aren’t as high as they were with the Delta variant, hospital officials said this surge is impacting them more.

“Even though there are fewer numbers, the stress on the system is probably greater because of the staffing issues,” President of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson said. “We are seeing substantially more healthcare workers who are becoming ill as a result of Omicron. Most of them will tell you, they are in a worse position now than they were in August or September.”

Williamson said even staff members with the booster shot only have around 75 percent protection and with many positive crew members, other parts of hospitals are being impacted.

“Individuals who present for something other than Covid are going to have difficulty getting care at their local hospital,” Williamson said.

Williamson said transferring to another hospital isn’t that easy right now.

“We are already seeing EMS personnel who are coming down with Covid,” he said. “As a result, we have hospitals now where it is very difficult to get an advanced life support transport from one hospital to another, because all of the transport staff has Covid.”

The state is out of state-funded traveling nurses for now, so hospitals are offering other incentives.

“We have hospitals now who are paying a one-thousand-dollar bonus to people who will simply work an extra shift,” Williamson said.

Williamson said the best thing to do is try and prevent severe illness with the vaccine.

“The most important thing is to try and get individuals to not have to be hospitalized,” Williamson said.

Williamson said many hospitals across the state are also eliminating elective procedures until more staffing becomes available.

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