8 Birmingham-area hospitals report increase in COVID-19 patients

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Part of UAB's healthcare staff all masked up
UAB staff wearing their masks during the first COVID-19 surge. Photo via UAB Medicine on Facebook

On Wednesday, August 4th, leaders from eight Birmingham-area hospitals met with the Jefferson County Department of Health to discuss the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, which is raising concerns among local healthcare professionals.

Keep reading to stay up-to-date on the state of COVID-19 in Birmingham.

Here are the Facts

COVID-19
Daily hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients since 3/25/2020. Graph via UAB, sourced from the Alabama Incident Management System

According to several local hospital administrators, hospital beds are quickly filling up with COVID-19 patients in Birmingham-area hospitals.

  • COVID-19 cases are on the rise: In the past three weeks, St. Vincent’s has seen a 700% increase in COVID-19 cases. Grandview’s COVID-19 patient volume has increased over 500% in the past month. UAB is currently treating 105 inpatients with COVID-19, one third of which are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with the Delta Variant.
  • The majority of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated: According to St. Vincent’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Timothy Bode, 88% of COVID-19 patients at the hospital are unvaccinated. In addition, 93% of patients on ventilators in critical care units remain unvaccinated.
  • Hospitals are becoming overloaded with COVID-19 patients: In addition to the increase of COVID-19 cases, many healthcare workers are testing positive themselves, which leads to an overloaded work schedule for remaining healthcare workers.
  • Cases are starting to trend in younger patients: Over the past two months, 57-66% of new COVID-19 cases have been among patients younger than 60 years old.

“We’re feeling the surge, and it’s real. We’re approaching 100 COVID-19 patients in all of our [St. Vincent’s] hospitals right now, and 88% of those patients in our hospitals are unvaccinated. Those that are on ventilators in critical care units are extremely ill, and 93% of those cases are unvaccinated as well. We’ve seen in our hospitals a 700% increase in COVID-19 cases in just the last three weeks.”

Dr. Timothy Bode, Chief Medical Officer, Ascension at St. Vincent’s

You can watch the meeting between eight Birmingham-area hospitals and the Jefferson County Department of Health here.

What You Can Do to Stay Safe

COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccine. Photo via Jefferson County Department of Health on Facebook

During the meeting, all eight Birmingham-area hospital representatives encouraged unvaccinated Alabamians to consider making an appointment to get vaccinated.

“We’re in a big scary surge now, it’s the fourth time around, I know we’re all tired of this but these leaders represent our hospitals who are dedicated to taking care of you when you need them, so I really want to encourage all of us, the rest of us, to do our part to be there for them. The most important thing we can do right now is to get vaccinated as soon as possible if you’ve not yet done so. And while things are really bad, we need people to get back to the basics; masking, social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding big crowds.”

Dr. Mark Wilson, Health Officer, Jefferson County Department of Health

As of August 3rd, only 34% of Alabama’s population has been vaccinated. Combine that with the highly contagious Delta variant, and you have a recipe for widespread transmission of the virus.

For more information on COVID-19, the Delta variant and what you can do to stay safe, visit uabmedicinevaccine.org.

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Nathan Watson
Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.
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