COVID hospitalization rates decline at East Alabama Medical Center

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 9:09 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - As the number of COVID-19 patients at East Alabama Medical Center decreases, health officials are still encouraging people to get vaccinated.

While the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 at East Alabama Health have decreased over the past couple of days to 62 patients, John Atkinson, EAMC’s Director of Public Relations, says that’s both good and bad news as part of the reason for the decrease “I think we’ve had around 50 deaths per day in the state over the past 10 days,” said Atkinson.

“I think it’s great but I think that the reason why they’re down is sad,” said Auburn resident Bayley Williams. “It’s not that we’re not having cases. It’s that people are no longer coming out of the hospital.”

One EAMC COVID-19 patient who was fortunate enough to survive her week-long stay at the hospital, is Williams’ grandmother.

“My grandma is 87 years old with COPD and with asthma,” said Williams. “She made it out of this hospital and I completely think it is because she was vaccinated.”

Atkinson says the hospital is still running out of ICU bed space and many of the patients in their critical care unit are unvaccinated.

“We’re still at a negative ICU bed situation,” said Atkinson. “We are licensed for 30 ICU beds and we got as high as 40 the other day. Today we’re at 35.”

However, in order for life to finally return back to normal, Atkinson strongly encourages more Alabama residents to get their COVID shots.

“People may start to relax again but I would still say for us to eventually get out of this, it’s still going to take many more people being vaccinated,” said Atkinson.

“It is so important to get vaccinated,” said Williams. “If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for someone you love.”

Atkinson says he’s noticing more Alabama residents are getting vaccinated. However, he’s hoping the rate of those vaccinated in the state reaches the nation’s current rate of 50%.

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