Hospitals pushed to the limit

Published 7:56 am Tuesday, August 17, 2021

As of 3 p.m. Monday, East Alabama Medical Center says there were only two ICU beds (0.1 percent) left in Alabama and hospitalizations had increased to 2,631—the most since mid-January.

Locally, East Alabama Health officials are working to keep pace with COVID testing and infusions, and preparing for even more hospitalizations.

“We’re at a very serious point right now as testing supplies are running low in the community, our three Emergency Departments are seeing long waits, and our Covid Infusion Center is running 12 hours a day, 7 days a week,” John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman said in a press release.

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“We cannot say it strongly enough that people who are eligible to receive a vaccine need to get one as soon as possible. The situation will only get worse until we have a much larger percentage of our population vaccinated.”

Among the 57 patients hospitalized this afternoon, 46 are unvaccinated, while 8 are fully vaccinated and 3 are partially vaccinated. “It’s clear that being vaccinated provides you a lot more protection than being unvaccinated,” Atkinson stated. “Hospitals cannot keep up this pace—resources are running low and personnel to care for patients are stretched very thin.”

Of the 57 patients, only 27 are age 60 and older. Of the remaining 30 patients, 16 are age 50-59, while 5 are in their 40s, 6 in their 30s and 3 in their 20s.