Alabama state health officer: “Some hospitals are already nearing capacity ”

SOURCE: The Associated Press

Photo Caption: (FAR RIGHT): Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris is urging people in the state to practice social distancing and to take the coronavirus seriously.

Alabama Department of Public Health officer Dr. Scott Harris, at a press conference Monday, again urged Alabamians to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and abide by social-distancing restrictions the state has ordered.

A number of hospitals in the state are already “nearing capacity,” as the number of cases in Alabama continues to rise.

As of Monday morning, at least 167 cases have been confirmed as positive, but far more are suspected.

And hospitals are not only dealing with confirmed cases, but with patients suspected of having the virus, who haven’t been tested or haven’t had results returned. “There’s certainly not a ventilator shortage at this time, but we are very concerned about the number of cases that hospitals have,”

Harris said. “Even without an absolute number shortage, some hospitals are already nearing capacity, and we’ve had to coordinate hospitals within the state so that they can share resources as needed.”

The Department of Public Health, Harris said, has a group that is looking at the possibility of additional ventilators that could come from out of state to add to the state’s current supply.

“So, while we do not have a shortage at this time, there are some facilities that feel a little pressed right now,” Harris said. “And we’re doing our best to work with a hospital association to address them.”