JeffCo Health Officer: COVID-19 Straining Entire Public Health System

 1502184490 
1595356431
UAB Hospital

On Tuesday, UAB Hospital was treating 105 inpatients with COVID-19, a new record.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said the spread of COVID-19 is now much worse than it was in April, but some people are acting as if the virus “isn’t a problem at all.” During a press conference Tuesday, Wilson said a significant portion of new cases are among people aged 20-45 who are less likely to be hospitalized due to the virus but are spreading it to others. 

Wilson said there is not a single event or location driving the rise in case numbers, but he is concerned about people gathering in private spaces.

“That’s where we’re seeing a lot of spread,” Wilson said. “That’s where government doesn’t have a lot of control over behavior.”

As of Tuesday morning, 278 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Jefferson County, with 110 patients in intensive care. Wilson said area hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed, testing sites are near capacity, and labs are facing backlogs. 

“COVID-19 is now putting a strain on every part of our health care and public health system,” Wilson said.

UAB Hospital reported a record-breaking number of inpatients Tuesday, treating 105 people with COVID-19. Due to the increase, the hospital recently implemented part of its surge plan. Dr. Sarah Nafziger, co-chair of UAB’s Emergency Management Committee, said they are redirecting resources and using part of the emergency department waiting room to care for COVID patients. 

“The downside of designating additional COVID-19 beds,” Nafziger said, “is that, by definition, it reduces the number of beds that are available for patients who have non-COVID medical needs.”

She said if numbers continue to increase, the hospital may have to limit other services, including elective surgeries and outpatient visits.

More Coronavirus Coverage

Alabama Is In ‘Survival Mode’ Says University Of Alabama Economist

One economist says the country's deficit isn't as important as surviving the pandemic. He's advocating for renewed extra unemployment checks, injection $1 trillion a month into the country's budget and issuing another round of stimulus checks to working Americans.

Students With Disabilities Face Significant Challenges As Schools Plan To Reopen

For more than 96,000 students with special needs across Alabama, the loss of in-person services could mean a decline in learning, communication or functional skills. It also takes a toll on family members.

Pregnancy During The Pandemic: What You Should Know

The interim chair of UAB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology debunked a number of COVID pregnancy myths.

Jefferson County Schools To Go Virtual-Only For First Nine Weeks; Start Sept. 1

The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Tuesday to begin the 2020-2021 school year with nine weeks of online education only and no option for traditional classroom learning.

UAB Launches COVID Testing For More Than 200,000 College Students

Alabama health experts and university leaders launched a statewide campus re-entry initiative to test and monitor the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses.

Business Capital, Knowledge Remains Out Of Reach For Many Minority Entrepreneurs

None of the Black-owned businesses in 4th Avenue and Civil Rights commercial districts have gone out of business because of the pandemic.

More Coronavirus Coverage