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More ICU bed space available at East Alabama Medical Center

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - While coronavirus hospitalizations are decreasing locally and across the nation, health officials are bracing themselves for flu season and Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“We are quite hopeful that we have really not seen a surge after Labor Day,” said Brooke Bailey, Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health at East Alabama Medical Center.

For the first time in months, more ICU bed space is available at East Alabama Medical Center.

“We have 15 total [COVID patients] with seven of those patients being in our intensive care unit and five of those patients being on a ventilator,” said Bailey.

Just two weeks ago, the hospital was able to close its third ICU, freeing up more space for other patients in need.

“We are able to handle capacity at this point, for both our COVID patients and other patients who may need intensive care when they enter our facility,” said Bailey.

EAMC saw it’s largest amount of COVID patients in July, causing negative ICU bed space for nearly two and a half months. While the news may sound good, one health official says the decrease is due to some patients getting better and going home as well as 321 COVID-related deaths.

“We have successfully treated 1,999 COVID patients who have been able to be discharged since the pandemic,” said Bailey.

Bailey says the decrease in COVID patients is also due to an increase in Lee County vaccination rates. One Opelika resident says he’s happy to hear more people are getting their shots.

“Now it’s hitting the younger crowd and I’ve got grandkids that I’m afraid are going to be effected by this,” said Roy Sheppard.

While the possibility of those hospitalizations rising once more as flu season begins, Sheppard says he hopes more people take the pandemic seriously.

“The vaccine might not cure it but it sure does help,” said Sheppard.

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