MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hospitals across South Alabama are seeing a rapid spike in hospitalizations due to the spread of the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19. Ascension Providence is currently treating more COVID-19 patients than any other time during the prior two surges of the virus, impacting the quality of care for all patients.
There are currently 105 COVID-19 patients at Ascension Providence, and hospital administrators say they’re running out of ICU beds, and currently are holding patients in their emergency department.
“Those choices of those in the community not to get vaccinated have overwhelmed our health systems across mobile and across the region,” said Todd Kennedy, the president of Ascension Providence.
Hospitals along the Gulf Coast are filling up with COVID patients. At ascension Providence, the number of patients infected with COVID-19 is 50% higher than just a week ago and almost 10 times higher than it was on July 1st. And they’re still seeing regular patients.
“So people who are not dealing with covid, who are dealing with STEMIs and strokes, heart attacks are not getting the same level of care they got 4 weeks ago,” said Kennedy.
Hospital administrators say on some days there can be an 8-hour wait in the E-R.
“We still prioritize and triage in the ER based on severity. We don’t want anyone sitting at home waiting for chest pain to go away,” Kennedy explained.
Hospital administrators are urging those who are experiencing an emergency to still seek help.
“Don’t let COVID keep you away from care if you can help it. The problem we’ve got right now is the system is becoming overwhelmed, and that’s causing a delay as well, that’s the problem we’ve got. We want to care for the community, but it’s getting tougher and tougher by the day,” said Kennedy.
89% of the current COVID patients at Providence are unvaccinated and administrators say they’re treating more younger patients during this surge.
The hospital is asking everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. They say about 52% of their employees are vaccinated so far. Ascension Health announced last month they will require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ascension Providence and Sacred Heart in Pensacola employees will be required to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series by Nov. 12.