MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Infirmary Health says they have the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state of Alabama, and this is the third time this has happened.

Thursday morning, administrators with Infirmary Health shared how this latest surge is affecting their hospitals.

“Today, we are in worse shape than we have ever been,” said Susan Boudreau, the President of Mobile Infirmary.

A plea from hospital administrators as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Mobile County continue to rise.

“This is also not only awareness but an appeal to those of you who have not been vaccinated, please reconsider it. It is not just about you, your families, your employees. The stress on the health care system today is starting to limit our capability of doing other things that we were doing before the pandemic was declared,” said Mark Nix, the President, and CEO of Infirmary Health.

Officials say more than 300 people with COVID-19 are being treated at their three hospitals right now. Infirmary Health includes Mobile Infirmary, Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, and North Baldwin Infirmary in Bay Minette.

The hospitals have been feeling the strain in a short amount of time.

“On July the 1st, we had eight COVID inpatients at our hospital, and none of those patients were on ventilators. Today, which is about six weeks later, we have 202 inpatients. About 25 of those are on a ventilator,” said Boudreau, talking about the patients at Mobile Infirmary.

One of the main issues Infirmary Health says they have been dealing with is staffing shortages.

More than 160 of their employees are currently out with COVID-19 across the system, they have 6,000 employees across the system. That includes hospital employees, corporate employees, Infirmary Medical Clinics, and other affiliates. 

Hospital administrators say they also have more than 650 open positions from retirements and people leaving after being fatigued working long hours during the pandemic.

“We’re having to close some of our services that we normally offer to our community that are important to the community. Like our geriatric psych program. We have to move those nurses to the COVID unit. We’re suffering staffing shortages; we’ve had to postpone our inpatient elective surgeries. People need surgery, and we want to be here for our community. But we just don’t have the resources,” said Boudreau.

The health system says they will be postponing elective surgeries for at least a month to get their resources ‘back together.’

The health system is asking everyone to get vaccinated.

They are requiring their employees to get vaccinated, but they did have an incentive-based program for those who did get vaccinated. They say more than 65% of their employees are vaccinated. Nix says once the emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine is lifted, many employers will start to mandate vaccinations, and they will be considering that.