HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — With the Omicron variant surging in Alabama, medical experts expect hospitalizations statewide to exceed the number seen during the Delta surge.
With a current state positivity rate the highest we have seen thus far, experts like the President of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said hospitalizations across the state will continue to increase.
As of Tuesday, there were 2,946 patients battling COVID-19 in hospitals across the state. This number has surpassed the summer peak of 2,890 COVID patients and medical experts believe it will be only a matter of time until statewide hospitalizations exceed the all-time high which was 3,000.
“This is where we absolutely didn’t want to be,” Dr. Williamson said. “It looks we are going to have as many people in the hospital with this surge as we did in August and September.”
Which Williamson says puts the state very dangerous situation. On top of overcrowded emergency rooms, hospitals across the state are already canceling in-patient elected procedures and converting spaces into ICUs to treat patients.
Williamson believes the current COVID situation the state is in will just continue to worsen.
“Not for just COVID patients,” Williamson said. “This is going to be a much bigger problem for everybody else. Heart attacks, strokes, we are going to find people are going to have to wait longer for care. We are going to find transfers difficult if not impossible.”
Dr. Williamson said the most concerning thing about the Omicron variant is that the state hasn’t quite yet reached its peak, meaning the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations will continue reaching points never before seen.
“This occurs at a time when our staffing is much much more challenged,” Dr. Williamson said. “On Monday, statewide we only had 5% available ICU beds, only 77 state-wide.”
Dr. Williamson tells WDHN, despite it not being popular, wearing a mask and getting vaccination remains the best defense to keeping hospitalizations, cases, and deaths associated with COVID as low as possible.