Shortage of I.C.U. beds in Alabama, Medical Center Barbour reflects

Coronavirus

BARBOUR COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Medical Center Barbour’s Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit is feeling eerily similar to how it was seven months ago. Barbour County is in the COVID-19 red zone for overall level of community transmission, and the medical center is feeling the impacts. 

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency on Friday, as the state tied a record low for available I.C.U. beds. Medical Center Barbour’s I.C.U. only has five beds and Thomas says they’ve been at max capacity for the past month. 

“I feel like right now we are just as busy as we have ever been with COVID,” Chief Nursing Officer Missy Thomas said. “We’ve been as busy this month as we were in January which would’ve been our peak… so we’re right back to where we were.”

Alabama still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with 35% of its population fully vaccinated. In the past week, 284 people have taken NAAT tests; 103 tests have come back positive. 

Due to the shortage of critical care beds at Medical Center Barbour, healthcare workers have had to adapt to the influx of patients. However, the same wave is hitting other hospitals across Alabama. 

“We’ve had some difficulties as well [with] getting patients transferred when we don’t have critical care beds here,” Thomas said. “We’re seeing all over the state of Alabama that [it is] taking a toll on our emergency rooms, having difficulty transferring patients.”

The medical center is combating this by continuing their vaccine rollout. They are currently offering the Pfizer vaccine to people ages 12 and older by appointment at 334-688-7002 and 334-688-7007.

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