BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – With nearly 3,000 people in Alabama hospitals statewide – Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson said it is causing a major disruption on hospital care.

These disruptions are impacting patients who need elective surgeries. Sabine Wlodarski, from Huntsville, has been waiting since Jan. 5 to get a knee replacement at Huntsville Hospital.

“Thank you to Omicron and COVID, [my surgery] didn’t happen,” Wlodarski said. “My go to is to call the office every Friday and say are they opening the hospital up? But they are not.”

Wlodarski said she wanted to plan for enough recovery time to take two trips coming up in March and April.

“I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that the numbers are down for next week, but it really doesn’t look good,” she said.

As the number of patients in Alabama hospitals sets new records, those needing elective procedures are now on standby.

“That many patients in house means that things like elective procedures are now being delayed across the state,” Williamson said.

According to Williamson, it’s not a bed issue, it’s a staffing issue.

“It’s not that you can’t get care, it is that you may spend more time getting from point A to point B in your journey,” Williamson said.

Wlodarski said the hardest part is waiting.

“They may consider this elective, but I don’t,” Wlodarski said. “It’s something that I would really like to have done and sooner rather than later. You just do what you can do.”

Williamson said only around 87 of the 1500 hospital ICU beds that the state has remain.