A top Alabama health official this week announced that the state has more intensive care patients than ICU beds to care for them.
Alabama Hospital Association President Don Williamson told an NBC News affiliate station in Montgomery on Tuesday that the state hospital system is facing a “negative” number of available ICU beds.
“We’ve never been here before. We are in truly now in uncharted territory in terms of our ICU bed capacity,” Williamson said.
Hospitals in the southern part of the country are dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases as the highly contagious delta variant drives infections. Williamson acknowledged the current strain on Alabama hospitals, noting that ICUs across the state have reached capacity.
“There were 1,568 patients today who need ICU beds, and there are only 1,557 designated ICU beds in the state today,” Williamson told WFSA. “In the Montgomery area, we have eight more patients who are getting ICU care than we have designated ICU beds here.”
Despite the lack of ICU beds, Williamson said that patients who need ICU care are still receiving treatment.
“Individuals who end up in the hospital will be taken care of, let me be very clear on that,” Williamson said, adding that some patients are being placed in other areas of hospitals if their ICUs are full.
More than 2,700 people were hospitalized in Alabama on Tuesday, including 40 children, the TV station noted.
At the time, Hutchinson urged state residents to get vaccinated in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Vaccinations reduce hospitalizations,” he wrote on Twitter.