Hospitalizations trending down, but deaths are on the rise


By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

The Alabama Hospital Association’s president on Friday offered an update regarding hospitalization numbers around the state.

Dr. Don Williamson said COVID-19 hospitalizations are down, going from 2,880 people being treated in late August to 1,669 people as of Friday, Sept. 24.

That’s about a 40% decline, but Williamson said it’s still much higher than the state’s numbers around July 4, when there were less than 200 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state.

“If I look at ICU beds, yes they are improving but they remain stubbornly high,” Williamson said. “We have almost 600 people with COVID remaining in the ICU and we have over 400 with COVID remaining on ventilators.”

The dropping numbers can be attributed to three factors, he said.

One: fewer new COVID-19 cases are being diagnosed. Two: the use of the monoclonal antibody treatments, which reduces the risk of hospitalization by at least 70%.Three: More people are dying and freeing up hospital beds. Over the past month, more than 1,000 people died because of COVID-19, Williamson said.

“With 27 consecutive days with at least 40 deaths per day, (Sept. 23) was the first time in 27 days that we did not have 40 deaths. We had 39,” Williamson said. “So I would expect giving the lag time it takes between the death occurring and being reported by (the Alabama Department of Public Health), we have several hundred more deaths yet to be reported and I also fear we are going to have 200, 250 more deaths out of the people who are in our ICU and on ventilators.”

Williamson said that although the death rate is increasing, health officials are not seeing a spike in COVID cases after mass outdoor gatherings like college football game days.

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