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Alabama Hospital Association President reports some patients being transferred out of state

Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID-19 hospitalizations are down across the state compared to yesterday, but officials said this doesn’t lessen the impact on hospitals right now.

President of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said just because the numbers are down today, it doesn’t mean things are better. He said it is normal for numbers to fluctuate and said the state’s weekly average is still higher than ever.

Williamson said one struggle hospitals are currently facing is transfers for COVID and non-COVID patients. He said it is becoming more difficult to transfer patients from smaller Alabama hospitals to larger ones, because the larger hospitals are full.

He said when they are able to get a patient into the larger hospitals, patients are having to spend more time waiting in the emergency department until beds become available. He said in some cases, in-state transfers aren’t possible and some patients are being sent to different states.

“We’ve seen that in transfers to Florida,” Dr. Williamson said. “We’ve seen that in transfers to Georgia. We’ve seen it in Tennessee and certainly in transfers to Kentucky.”

Williamson said neighboring out-of-state hospitals are also experiencing similar capacity problems. He said Alabama hospitals are still accepting patients and will not turn anyone away. He urged everyone to take precautions as hospitals continue to fill up.

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