BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Alabama, so do hospitalizations.
“Over the last four days, we’re averaging over 1,300 cases in hospital per day,” Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association said.
Dr. Williamson believes some of the increases are due to the Fourth of July holiday. Williamson tells us we’ve had less than 300 available ICU beds statewide for over 10 days now. As of Thursday afternoon, only 14% of ICU beds are available according to Williamson.
“We still have adequate ventilators. We still have adequate adult medicine beds. So we can still take care of patients. We can still put them in ICU, but I think the challenge is as the pandemic has worsened, hospitals are increasingly being filled with patients who have COVID,” Williamson said.
Now that a statewide face mask order is in effect, Williamson says he’ll be watching the numbers over the next week or so to see if the masking has an impact.
“Unfortunately, that order won’t have an effect on cases for the next five days so I worry that we could be hitting 1,500 cases by sometime next week in hospital and then it really gets to be whether or not people have adhered to the masking order than they were before as to whether we can stabilize our hospitalization numbers or whether they continue to climb,” Williamson said.
If people wear a mask and practice social distancing, then Williamson believes things could be better by August. If not, then he says our hospitals will have a difficult time dealing with the situation.