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ICU bed availability still a concern in Alabama

Despite the overall hospitalization trend downward, the head of Alabama’s Hospital Association...
Despite the overall hospitalization trend downward, the head of Alabama’s Hospital Association says ICU numbers continue to worry him.(WBRC)
Updated: Jan. 18, 2021 at 11:07 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Despite the overall hospitalization trend downward, the head of Alabama’s Hospital Association says ICU numbers continue to worry him.

Over the past week, hospitalizations have been on the decline. Health leaders say that’s due in part to new COVID-19 medications and treatment protocols for patients.

“I think the major driving force for that has probably been the use of monoclonal antibodies which allows patients who otherwise probably would be hospitalized to avoid hospitalization,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president of the AL Hospital Association.

But the number that still worries Dr. Williamson is the low number of ICU beds available across the state.

“In the last two weeks , we’ve only had one day where we had over 100 ICU beds available and today we only had 60 ICU beds available,” Williamson said.

For a handful of weeks now in Jefferson County, fewer than 10% of COVID ICU beds have been available.

“I think what’s happening is we’re keeping some people out of the hospital but the people who are now ending up in hospital tend to be much, much more ill than the patients who maybe had gotten into the hospital earlier,” Williamson added.

On a handful of occasions in recent weeks, only 1 COVID ICU bed was available in all of Jefferson County.

With it being the MLK holiday on Monday, we should get an update Tuesday on where ICU’s stand in the county.

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