COVID Hospitalizations Reach Record High; Thanksgiving Cases Excluded
COVID hospitalizations hit a record high in Alabama Monday, putting even more strain on healthcare workers and supplies. Officials warn this could be the beginning of an even bigger rise in case numbers as Christmas and the New Year approaches.
Alabama had 1,717 people in hospitals being treated for the virus Monday, which is the most the state has seen all year.
“Frankly, the next eight weeks, I think, will be the most challenging eight weeks in the history of Alabama Healthcare,” Dr. Don Williamson, President of the Alabama Hospital Association, said. “Right now, nothing to me looks to be going in the right direction.”
One week ago, the seven-day average for hospitalizations in Alabama was 1,328 people being treated for COVID-19 each day. As of Monday, the average jumped to 1,535, adding more than 200 people daily… A number Dr. Don Williamson, President of the Alabama Hospital Association, said is frightening. ICU bed usage is up to its highest yet: about one out of every three people in ICU have COVID. One out of every five people in hospital beds throughout the state have the virus… none of these including the effects of Thanksgiving gatherings.
“What I did not expect was to break all of our records before Thanksgiving,” Dr. Williamson said. “What we’re really worried about now is a surge on top of a surge.”
Dr. Williamson contributes the spike to several factors, including people exhausted from the pandemic and behaving as if it is over– including not wearing masks or wearing them improperly and also a false hope in vaccines. He said most Americans won’t get a vaccine until March or April, so letting your guard down now, even if you have already had the virus, is deadly.
“One has to assume that the virus is so common in society that if you go out, you are almost certainly going to be exposed to someone who has the virus.”
He explained this situation is going to worsen over the next two weeks, seeing major impacts on hospitals’ ability to provide the routine care people expect… and resources are not the problem. He said it’s healthcare workers becoming infected.
“Large gatherings at Christmas are going to result in funerals in January, and that’s avoidable,” Dr. Williamson said. “We will get through this, but we are going to get through this with a very, very stressed healthcare system.”