Leaders in Madison County gave their weekly coronavirus update on Wednesday.
Dr. Pam Hudson, CEO of Crestwood Medical Center, shared concerns about the rising number of coronavirus cases. She said they have plenty of beds still available in Madison County right now, but staffing is the major concern because as the community gets sick, so does their staff.
She said right now, there are 3,400 people in Madison County in active quarantine.
Hudson explained across North Alabama, hospitals are seeing 30% to 50% of their total patients with coronavirus depending on the area. She explained they have also slowed down elective or non-urgent surgeries because of the spike.
"If you're signed up to have significant inpatient surgical procedure, you don't feel like it's elective. It's something that you do because you feel like you have to. But unfortunately, we have to delay that in some cases, exclude that. So we have a lot of folks on the sidelines while we're trying to fight this disease and it seems like as usual, we are trying to fight COVID-19 with one hand tied behind our back," Hudson said.
Hudson said with 234 people currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Madison County, it is concerning, especially because there are more than 2,000 people hospitalized in the state right now. The highest during the worst spike this summer was around 1,500.
Hudson said they're still working to learn more about that, and they're still getting some updated guidance from the state as things are changing rapidly with the vaccine.
United Kingdom officials have recommended people with serious allergic reactions who want to get the Pfizer vaccine bring their EpiPen with them or wait because of adverse reactions. The advice was issued on a precautionary basis on Wednesday while it is looked into more. Pfizer and BioNTech have also said they're working with health officials on the investigation to see if it's related.
"What I heard earlier from public health is they are now, instead of it just being a few minutes, they've extended that observation period afterwards, I think, 30 minutes...30 minutes now instead of the typical 15. So that's going to slow down the vaccination process just a bit. Certainly, an abundance of caution," she said.
Hudson explained that with vaccinations happening around the world, health officials in the U.S. will be able to look at that information and use it here.