Health official warns of new COVID-19 surge

Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 10:22 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The head of the Alabama Hospital Association says we will see a surge of COVID-19 cases over the next few weeks due to back-to-back holidays and relaxed precautions warns that recovering from the disease is not an easy feat.

If you end up in the hospital, for the majority of patients, expect to stay upwards two weeks, according to Dr. Don Williamson, who said some have stayed as long as 90 days.

For the sickest of patients who end up in the ICU, Dr. Williamson said that’s when the likelihood of death increases.

“There are studies that show that if you end up in an ICU because your symptoms are so severe there is a higher death rate and that rate can be as high as 30%; and, it ranges as high as 50% in some studies,” said Dr. Williamson.

The good news is Dr. Williamson said current treatments are promising.

As for if local hospitals have enough personal protection equipment, Dr. Williamson said no hospital has the amount of PPE that they would like to have but they certainly have more than they did when the pandemic in February.

As of Tuesday night there were more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations.

As the worldwide demand for PPE and other medical supplies increases, Dr. Williamson said hospitals were becoming more efficient in how they use supplies.

But he said an uptick in cases and hospitalizations was concerning.

“I expect that thousand hospitalizations to increase to 1200, maybe 1500. The fact is that right now we only have 220 ICU beds available statewide that 13% of the ICU beds in Alabama. That’s a very concerning number,” he explained.

The best way to not have to worry about any of this is avoid getting infected. You do that by social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask when in public.

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