North Alabama hospitals: plenty of space for current, hospitalized coronavirus patients

The comments from local hospitals come after some in Montgomery ran out of ICU space.

Posted: May 20, 2020 10:34 PM
Updated: May 20, 2020 10:41 PM

In Montgomery on Wednesday, the mayor outlined a stark reality for those who may need to go to the hospital due to the coronavirus.

"Right now, if you're from Montgomery and you need an ICU bed, you're in trouble. If you're from central Alabama and you need an ICU bed, you may not be able to get one because our health care system has been maxed out," said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

Some of their patients had to be transported to the Birmingham area for treatment due to a lack of bed space in Montgomery.

But despite that challenge in the center of the state, in the northwest, hospital officials said they're not seeing the same kind of hardship.

"Are we there yet? No. But as you mentioned, there is a point of, if the infections continue to escalate, that that will become a concern," said Kyle Buchanan, the president of Helen Keller Hospital.

Buchanan said a couple of months ago, near the start of the outbreak in Alabama, the hospital worked to expand the number of beds that could house coronavirus patients from around 12 to about 40.

He said the number at the hospital at any given time has fluctuated. It's highest total at one time was 18 positive patients.

"We hit that number about four weeks ago and then saw a dramatic decrease in volume and as of about 10-12 days ago, we saw that begin to pick back up again to a point where we are hovering around 12 today and anticipate that to go up," said Buchanan.

As of 10 p.m. Wednesday night, the Shoals (Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale counties) had a total of 626 confirmed cases since the outbreak began. On May 1, that total was only 161 cases. Buchanan said it's important to watch that trend closely.

"If we continue to see three- or four-fold increases, we will come to a point where we have to make some of those tough decisions and think about our resources and make sure we've got what we need to take care of our patients," said Buchanan.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said it's crucial for all hospitals to keep a close eye on the number of cases in their nearby counties.

"As we reopen, we continue to carefully monitor our numbers so that hospitals can maintain capacity and be able to treat the patients as they come into the hospital," said Dr. Landers.

While places like Marshall County and Franklin County have seen a notable increase in cases in recent weeks, experts said right now, it's too early to determine with certainty exactly how reopening has impacted the case total.

"We absolutely want to support our local businesses, we absolutely want to get back to work as much as possible, we just want to make sure we're safe in how we're doing it, such that we never get to the point where we have a situation in which our local hospitals are overrun with patients," said Buchanan.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16181

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 21285

Reported Deaths: 353
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson482660
Shelby4615105
Trousdale13924
Rutherford109022
Sumner84345
Hamilton67015
Bledsoe6081
Williamson53210
Tipton4283
Putnam4285
Robertson4262
Lake4130
Wilson3828
Knox3565
Out of TN3394
Bedford2704
Montgomery2583
Rhea1970
Hardeman1920
Madison1742
Loudon1370
McMinn13614
Macon1193
Cheatham1140
Cumberland1111
Fayette1102
Dickson1070
Bradley1051
Blount893
Maury810
Washington750
Unassigned750
Sevier752
Coffee660
Wayne630
Gibson601
Sullivan602
Monroe592
Lauderdale561
Hickman540
Dyer490
Franklin491
Greene482
Anderson401
Marion371
DeKalb370
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Hamblen302
Haywood302
Henry300
Marshall291
Jefferson280
Obion281
White280
Carroll271
Weakley260
Overton250
Meigs250
Lincoln250
Lawrence240
Warren220
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Campbell171
Cannon170
Jackson170
Crockett161
Roane160
Johnson150
Polk150
Henderson140
Humphreys131
Chester130
Perry130
Sequatchie130
Giles120
McNairy120
Fentress120
Hardin112
Scott110
Stewart100
Claiborne80
Houston80
Benton71
Grainger60
Clay60
Decatur50
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

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