ADPH Prepares for Increase of COVID-19 Patients
The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Alabama has surpassed 1,000.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says that between 120 and 130 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients are in hospitals currently and half of those patients are in intensive care units.
“We have very large number of patients who are on ventilators, much more than we would expect for this time of year,” Dr. Harris shared.
Dr. Harris says that current data shows the peak number of cases in Alabama may come around the 3rd week in April. This depends on many factors including social distancing across the state. Now, they’re preparing for the possibility that Alabama hospitals could run out of beds for patients.
“We’re doing everything that we can to work within the frameworks of the hospital beds that we know that we have or can easily create, but if we need alternative care sites, if we need sites that aren’t in a traditional hospital building we have a plan for that,” Dr. Harris explained.
State health officials are already looking at what happens if hospitals become overloaded and preparing for mass care sites. Dr. Harris says they have looked at sites in Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Tuscaloosa and Auburn.
Another concern is available ventilators. Dr. Harris says they have enough ventilators currently, but he anticipates they’ll need more very soon. They’ve already requested 500 more ventilators, 200 of which he says they requested urgently.
“We’ve made requests through the strategic national stockpile, we don’t see that any are coming to Alabama right away because there are other sites that are really in crisis now like New York City for example but we hope to get them soon,” he explained.