Alabama Hospital Association dealing with severe shortage of ICU beds due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Right now, 60 patients need an ICU bed in Alabama and are being treated in makeshift spaces. That’s according to the Alabama Hospital Association.

Doctors said it’s because of the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

With the Delta Variant, Alabama has seen COVID-19 cases surge while vaccination rates continue to decrease. As a result, ICU beds are at full capacity across the state.

Alabama Hospital Association Deputy Director, Danne Howard said it is the greatest demand her organization has tracked.

“It is much more contagious than the novel virus, so this mutation is much more easily transmissible,” said Howard.

Howard said they are seeing younger patients in the hospital with COVID-19.

She explained that 84 percent of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, 4 percent are partially vaccinated, and 12 percent are fully vaccinated. As a solution, makeshift beds have been created in other areas of the hospital to care for patients. Howard said has been extra difficult with limited staff.

“Staff is a limiting factor that we are trying to work around and manage.

As the need continues to mount, hospitals are flexing to be able to do that. Now that is putting a tremendous strain on not only the beds but the staff. You can set up beds in any number of places, but if you don’t have staff, that becomes an issue,” said Howard.

There are currently more than 100 COVID-19 inpatients in the ICU across Huntsville Hospital’s North Alabama network of hospitals.

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