Hospitals concerned about potential Labor Day COVID-19 surge

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread across Alabama, health experts will be keeping a close eye on the number of cases and hospitalizations in the days after the Labor Day holiday.

Doctors are concerned about a potential surge upon a surge, a scenario that has played out a few times during the pandemic, most notably over the Christmas holiday and New Years.

While the number of patients at many hospitals has stabilized a bit this week, doctors at UAB hospital say the number of patients at their hospital certainly has not gown down. Statewide, the Alabama Hospital Association says there is still a shortage of staffed ICU beds, which State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said means that nearly 100 severely ill patients are not being treated where they should be, including potentially from a gurney in a hospital hallway.

In North Alabama, as of Friday, there were 104 ICU patients across the Huntsville Hospital Healthcare system. That number sat at 60 just one month ago. Health experts are encouraging Alabamians to use extra caution this Labor Day, particularly during social gatherings.

“What we do this labor day weekend could help end the delta variant surge, or make it far worse. Please choose to make safe decisions like wearing a mask this weekend, and if you are not vaccinated please get a safe, free and effective vaccine now,” said Suzanne Judd, an infectious disease expert at UAB School of Public Health.

Doctors say they won’t have a good sense of how Labor Day has impacted the state’s Covid-19 case numbers until around 10 days after the holiday.

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