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Alabama dips below 200 available intensive care beds for first time during pandemic

Of the occupied ICU beds, 447 were taken up by coronavirus patients — down slightly from 496 being cared for in ICU beds on Monday.

The patient blue bed with bed sheet in the hospital.

Alabama on Tuesday had just 10 percent of the state’s intensive care beds available as the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients remained at record-high levels.

Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association and a former state health officer, told APR on Tuesday that there were just 168 ICU beds open across the state, which is the first time during the pandemic that the number of available ICU beds has dropped below 200.

Of the occupied ICU beds, 447 were taken up by coronavirus patients — down slightly from 496 being cared for in ICU beds on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, there were 1,598 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Alabama, Williamson said. The state set a record-high number of hospitalized coronavirus patients on Monday, at 1,599.

UAB Hospital again broke another record for the number of COVID-19 inpatients on Tuesday, when the hospital was caring for 119, which followed several days of record-setting coronavirus hospitalization numbers at UAB, the state’s largest hospital.

The state’s new daily COVID-19 cases dropped to 1,180 on Tuesday, but Alabama’s 14-day average of new daily cases remained high, at 1,705. Alabama has added 41,867 new cases this month, compared to 19,290 new cases added to Alabama’s tally in June.

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Alabama’s seven-day average of the percent of tests that are positive was 19.15 percent on Tuesday, the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic, when taking into account incomplete data in April that inflated the percentages. Public health experts say that percentage needs to be at five or below — otherwise, there isn’t enough testing and cases are going undetected.

The Alabama Department of Public Health didn’t confirm any new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, but the state’s seven-day average of new daily coronavirus deaths was at 25, whereas a month ago that figure was 10.

As of Tuesday, 1,446 people have died in Alabama due to COVID-19, and 178 of them died within the last week.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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