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Alabama ICUs still full, health leaders fear a winter COVID spike

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Health officials said hospitals are still trying to bounce back from the delta variant surge, but COVID cases are slightly increasing again.

Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said more than 700 new COVID cases were diagnosed on Dec. 2.

The state’s percent positivity is also on the rise from 4.3 percent last month to 5.4 percent now. Williamson said it is a small increase and we are not in a surge, but he worries one is coming.

He said if it does, ICUs are not ready. For the first time in months, Williamson said there are only less than seven percent of ICU beds available. That is only about 102 beds statewide. He said the ICUs are full of some COVID patients, but a lot of other just severely ill people.

“What I worry now about is a multifactorial situation in January where we still have relatively high number of COVID patients, we are filled with other things that just happen to people in life, and I now worry about influenza,” he said. “So, I worry our situation in January could be very much like last January.”

Williamson said if ICUs remain the same and a surge happens, we will likely see hospitals use flex space for more makeshift ICUs, and they will likely struggle getting patients transferred in and out of the hospital.

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