MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Hospital intensive care units are busy across Alabama, including in Mobile, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Springhill Medical Center says the entire hospital is full with both COVID and non-COVID patients and it has been that way for a month.
“We’re hearing from the hospitals that they are stressed, but they are coping,” said Dr. Rendi Murphree with the Mobile County Health Department.
The Alabama Hospital Association said there were just 28 ICU beds open as of Thursday between all Port City hospitals, meaning less than 15% of all ICU beds were available in Mobile.
“If you grade these things 10% is when things are really concerning,” said Don Williamson, President of the Alabama Hospital Association.
Statewide just 14% of ICU beds are open. The hospital association said about a 1/3 of the beds are occupied with COVID patients, the rest are those with heart attacks, strokes or other illnesses.
“Right now, I don’t have any reason to be optimistic that it’s suddenly going to turn for the best and that sets us up for a very bad august with schooling,” Williamson said.
If needed, hospitals have the ability to expand their ICU capacity, like Springhill Medical Center has done, but there is only so much space.
“All of the hospitals are maintaining capacity so they have some capacity, but staffing is an issue,” Dr. Murphree said.
FOX10 News reached out to the four major Mobile hospitals asking for specific numbers on ICU availability, but Springhill Medical Center was the only one who provided numbers. USA Health and Providence sent a statement. Infirmary Health did not respond.
Springhill Medical Center statement: “We have been full for a month in critical care. We have 28 critical care beds. We have set up surge areas and have had as many as 42 critical care inpatients at one time. The hospital outside of critical care has been full for a month with regular patients, as well as Covid.”
USA Health statement: “Just like all hospitals in the region, USA Health has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to University Hospital and Children’s & Women’s Hospital. The people in the Upper Gulf Coast region rely upon us for vital services not otherwise available locally. These include treatments for burns, severe trauma, stroke, high-risk pregnancies, as well as specialty care for children and newborns who are critically ill. The precautionary measures we took early on during the outbreak – changing our visitor policies, requiring screenings prior to entry, requiring everyone entering the facility to wear masks – have enabled us to maintain our workforce so that we can provide as safe an environment as possible as we deliver care to all who need our highly-specialized services during this current surge in COVID cases.”
Providence Hospital and Ascension statement: "The staff at Ascension Providence is working very hard to care for the significant increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who have required hospital care over the past month. We have capacity today in our ICU and we have beds that could be converted to ICU beds if necessary. While we have hospital bed capacity today, we are looking ahead, working around the clock to ensure we remain ready to manage the ongoing influx of patients. COVID-19 is putting a strain on our staff and bed capacity as the virus continues to take a heavy toll on our community. We continue to urge all Mobile area residents to take all steps necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That means everyone should wear a mask in public, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. Only by acting together can we reduce the threat of this deadly virus and care for all those in need."