UAB doctor: More people being hospitalized, but fewer on ventilators


The omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading much faster than the delta variant, which was a lot deadlier.

But University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Pediatric and Infectious Diseases Co-Director Dr. David Kimberlin said Thursday that UAB Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Birmingham are still approaching the maximum number of patients they can care for.

Jefferson County’s COVID-19 transmission rate is 12 times higher than the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 100 people per 100,000 “high transmission rate.”

“To use a word that I don’t like anymore, this is unprecedented,” Kimberlin said. “Children’s of Alabama has increased the number of hospitalizations more than three times in the last three days. UAB Hospital is approaching their maximum. We’re higher at Children’s than has been our maximum at any point throughout this pandemic.”

There is some good news, however. Fewer patients in the hospital with the omicron variant are requiring ventilators, Kimberlin said, and their symptoms tend to be milder than delta variant patients.

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