Alabama hospital ICU beds are nearly filled as another Covid spike hits the country and the state extra hard due to low vaccination rates, the lowest in the nation.
“The next two or three weeks are pivotal,” President of Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson told WAAY 31 Friday as available ICU beds, statewide, drop to 5 percent.
Worst-case scenario projections show nearly 8,000 inpatients could soon find themselves in an Alabama hospital, that would swamp the already overwhelmed system.
The dire warning about what health care workers are planning for now. And even if they have bed space for inpatients, the issue could be finding staff to take care of those people.
“Our staffs are fatigued, we may end up calling on federal response to come help out,” Williamson said.
In a little more than a month’s time, Alabama has experienced a seven-fold increase in hospitalizations.
This major increase fueled by that Delta variant that spreads much easier than the original virus and is making younger people sicker.
Williamson says this is not the same as we experienced last year when we saw spiking cases. This is much worse.
Hospitals across North Alabama are already putting the brakes on elective surgeries, and re-opening Covid wings.
But health care workers have learned through past spikes new ways to treat patients suffering from Covid. A major tool health care workers are relying on as they try to keep people from ending up on a ventilator: monoclonal antibodies.
They are made inside a laboratory. these proteins mimic the immune system's ability to fight back again Covid.
“We are pushing really hard on right now is the use of monoclonal antibodies. They could be a game changer given early they keep people out of the hospital, given in people who have been exposed, given post exposure they can actually keep you from ever even developing covid,” Williamson explained.
Health care workers say right now the best thing people can do to keep from becoming sick is to wear a mask and if you are not vaccinated, get the shot now.