Covid-19 cases leave just 5 percent hospital ICU beds free


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge across the state, the Alabama Department of Public Health says a number of hospitals are struggling to keep up with their patient loads.

“We need Alabamians to understand that we are in a very difficult position right now. We are seeing case numbers again as high as we have ever seen,” said State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris. “At the rate that we are adding people to our hospitals, we’ll surpass our all-time high from back in January in the next 3 or 4 days.”

There are over 2400 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds across the state.

The ADPH says over 95 percent of the state’s ICU beds are now filled, and some hospitals with no free ICU beds left are being forced to transfer patients

“They’re places that don’t have a location to put a trauma patient. They’re places that don’t have a place to put a person that’s suffered a heart attack,” said Dr. Harris.

Doctors at UAB Hospital are calling the situation dire.

“We’re seeing an absolute tidal wave, once again, of patients coming to see us, who are infected with COVID, who have terrible symptoms of COVID, and who are requiring treatment and hospitalization. We’ve had to delay surgeries for transplants, surgeries for cancer, surgeries for all different types of problems, for heart problems,” said Dr. Sarah Nafziger of UAB Hospital.

The ADPH says more people are getting vaccinated now, but that it’s not happening fast enough.

Dr. Harris says he is particularly concerned about the rate at which younger people are getting the shot. Less than 24 percent of those aged 12 to 17 in the state are currently vaccinated.

“As schools come back into session that’s going to be of concern. Remember kids under 12 aren’t able to be vaccinated at all,” said Dr. Harris.

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