As of Friday, there have been four days this week when the number of people hospitalized in Alabama for COVID-19 went over 600, marking the highest period for hospitalizations since the pandemic began in March.
Six hundred twenty-two people were hospitalized in 92 hospitals statewide, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Some hospitals don’t report to the Health Department every day.
There had been 764 deaths from COVID-19 in Alabama as of Friday morning, with 23,333 confirmed cases reported and 377 probable cases, according to Health Department statistics. They show that a record high 859 new confirmed cases of the disease were diagnosed between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday
Dr. Don Williamson of the Alabama Hospital Association said the number of people hospitalized is severely elevated at more than 600, a number higher than at any other time since the pandemic began in March.
He said hospitalizations is the best measure of the prevalence of COVID-19, because these patients have been tested and are being treated for the disease.
“I think about it as this is the fourth day that we have seen over 600 hospitalized cases, and this tells me that COVID is not going away, and it is not getting better,” Williamson said, “And that there are ongoing transmissions of the disease. It is an ugly curve of the increase in the number of cases.”
He said Montgomery hospitals are the ones with the greatest stress on their bed capacities, especially ICU beds. They are generally filled, Williamson said. Cases have been rising precipitously in Montgomery County in recent weeks.
Alabama had 622 hospitalizations Friday, with 92 hospitals reporting.
Thursday there were 647 patients hospitalized with 104 hospitals reporting, according to the Health Department.
Wednesday there were 646 patients being treated in hospitals, with 105 hospitals reporting; and Tuesday, 628 patients were hospitalized, with 99 hospitals reporting.
At UAB Hospital, the number of patients being treated for the virus rose from 53 on Monday to 62 Friday afternoon. Hospital officials would not say whether the 63 patients were from the Birmingham area.