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EAMC finding ways to adjust to staff shortage and lack of ICU beds

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 12:16 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As hospitals across the nation continuously struggle with the surge in COVID-19 patients, East Alabama Medical Center is finding ways to create additional bed space while they’re already overcrowded.

“Our concerns as our capacity continues to be at its maximum - that we may not be able to take care of any patient,” said EAMC’s Director of Infection Prevention Brooke Bailey.

With Alabama out of ICU beds, Bailey says the hospital has multiple ICU units to help with the current influx of patients.

“We are at our max capacity with our ICU beds,” said Bailey. “We currently have three total intensive care units right now. Two of the three are COVID intensive care units.”

That third unit is for patients who do not have COVID. However, with all 30 ICU beds designated for COVID patients full, Bailey says EAMC is making additional space available in their emergency department.

“We have an additional 10 to 12 ICU beds currently and a few more in our ED when we have no room for those patients,” said Bailey.

Another state nearly out of I-C-U beds is Georgia. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates Georgia’s ICU beds are at 96 percent capacity.

While many may assume ICU beds are only full of COVID patients, Bailey at EAMC says that’s not the case.

“We’re not just treating COVID patients,” said Bailey. “We still have a very lot of sick patients as well.”

To help with the surge in patients, Bailey asks the community to stay safe by social distancing, wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

“When you are visiting with family and friends, be mindful of those who may be at higher risk for getting COVID and have more severe illness,” said Bailey.

Although the situation is very scary, Bailey wants to reiterate that EAMC will do everything they can to help the community but the community has to help themselves first by getting vaccinated.

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