HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama has averaged more than 1,500 new COVID-19 cases a day over the past week and the U.S. has seen an 82 percent jump in cases over the past two weeks.
The rise in COVID-19 cases is translating to a growing number of hospitalizations.
It represents the problem health officials warned about back in the spring, that is, if the U.S. didn’t get control over the COVID-19 virus, it would put increasing pressure on hospitals that are also starting to deal with flu season.
Huntsville Hospital reported Tuesday it had its highest number of COVID-19 patients systemwide since July 31, 222, including 111 in Huntsville.
The hospital system reported 228 COVID-19 patient on July 30. The figure hasn’t fallen below 122 patients since early October.
Huntsville Hospital said today is has no plans to discontinue outpatient procedures and is also continuing in-patient procedures.
Statewide, it’s a similar story.
Alabama has nearly 1,300 COVID-19 patients currently, that’s the highest figure since mid-August.
Dr. Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health said today state hospitals can scale up to meet greater demand, but Intensive Care Unit availabilty is about 15 percent statewide.
“Hospitals statewide are currently managing the patient load with ability to exercise surge capacity and regional referral patterns if needed,” she said.
Landers also said influenza cases are currently not a factor in hospital patient volume.
“Influenza-like activity is low in Alabama and does not represent a significant portion of persons hospitalized at this time,” she said. “The upward trend in hospitalization, coupled with an increase in COVID-19 cases in Alabama, indicates a need for consistent practices of social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and the use of cloth face coverings to slow transmission of COVID 19 and preserve the healthcare system’s capacity to care for patients with a number of medical conditions, including COVID 19.”