Doctor warns against complacency as Alabama reaches lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in a month

Coronavirus

A hospital bed (Nexstar, file).

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This week, Alabama reached the lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide in nearly a month.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there were 2,474 people statewide who were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms as of Monday. This is down significantly from Sept. 1, when there were 2,890 people hospitalized and marks the lowest number of COVID-related hospitalizations since Aug. 15.

However, Alabama Hospital Association CEO Dr. Don Williamson said there is still a lot to be concerned about.

Williamson said that while there are still some unknown factors with the sudden drop in cases, one aspect is the death rate caused by COVID-19.

“We had a few weeks where we’ve had 40 or more deaths per day,” he said.

While the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations may be down, Alabama still has no intensive care unit beds available in any hospitals, Williamson said.

Breaking down the numbers, Williamson said that as of Monday, there were 772 people hospitalized in the ICU, 576 of whom were on ventilators. In addition, 24 pregnant women remain hospitalized with COVID-19, three of whom are in the ICU while one is on a ventilator.

When it comes to children, there are currently 44 pediatric COVID-19 cases. Of that, 17 children are in the ICU and eight are on ventilators.

“We’ve never seen pediatric rates like this,” he said. “We are seeing much younger patients. I don’t remember seeing them in January.”

Williamson said that while he hopes to continue seeing COVID-19 hospitalizations go down, he said one aspect will be trying to increase the number of ICU beds in hospital.

“The key is going to take more ICU capacity for us to see the system unfreeze and be able to arrange transfers,” he said.

The highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in a single day was January 11, when there were 3,084 people in the hospital.

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