MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in Mobile County is starting to take a toll on healthcare workers and hospitals.
All four hospitals in Mobile are currently on diversion. Health and city leaders met today to discuss this new COVID-19 trend and what steps can be taken to lessen the spread. 311 hospitalizations were reported yesterday, and health officials say that number doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.
This diversion in the hospitals does not mean they are going to be denying services to anyone, it just means wait times are up and other hospital services may be affected. Today, they said the delta variant is playing a large role in these high numbers.
Health officials say the delta variant has really changed things just because of how rapidly it can be transmitted. With the original alpha variant, 15 minutes was the time for transmission, but with delta, it is only a matter of seconds. Dr. Chang with USA Health saying, “With delta, you can be infected within literally a matter of one to five seconds as opposed to 15 minutes, It’s completely changed things.” He also went on to say about 80 percent of those positive tests were the delta variant.
This rise in the delta variant is another addition to the stress on the healthcare system. “When we get full we have to divert some of that work, we do what we can not to, but on any given point we have 20,25 30 patients in the emergency department waiting on beds to open up, and so when we’re full like that it’s difficult and presents a challenge in providing the other unique services the hospital provides,” chang said.
Dr. William Admire, Chief Medical Officer of Mobile Infirmary, is in agreement, saying, “The number of COVID-19 patients we’re seeing is higher than it’s been in the last 18 months. The hospitals in Mobile County, the emergency rooms, the urgent cares clinics the doctors’ offices are overwhelmed, and the numbers keep rising as far as the patients we’re seeing, patients getting tested and being positive and them being admitted.”
Officials are urging people to get the vaccine to lessen the spread.
“There is hope, there’s a solution and it’s the vaccine,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.