In Alabama, one of the hardest-hit states in the latest surge, overall hospitalization numbers continue to climb, driving health officials to use mobile trailers to house bodies because Covid-19 deaths are soaring, state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday.
The state activated two of its four refrigerated trailers for the first time since the pandemic began, Harris said, in Mobile and Baldwin counties this week.
“These are typically held in case of a mass casualty event for example, when a large number of bodies appear at one time. This is actually a situation that is happening in Alabama hospitals now,” Harris said.
“We have enough people dying … that there is no room to put these bodies,” he added. “We are really in a crisis situation. … I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to do this.”
Alabama reported 50 Covid-19 related deaths Thursday and saw “double digit numbers of deaths” in the past two to three weeks, Harris said.
At least 5,571 Alabama children tested positive for Covid-19 last week, Harris said Friday, noting that officials aren’t sure where the children contracted the virus. The state currently has a 23% Covid-19 positivity rate, among the highest in the nation, Harris said.
Alabama is seeing a surge in pediatric cases from last year, Harris explained. Of the 2,879 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Thursday, 45 of them are children, with at least five of them on ventilators, Harris said.
Louisiana hospitals won’t evacuate ahead of Ida
“That’s very helpful going into this hurricane, especially since we know that the evacuation of our hospitals is not an option,” said Edwards.
Edwards told CNN’s Jim Acosta the hospitals have been stocking up on supplies and testing their generators ahead of the storm. FEMA has also brought in additional generators for the hospitals, he added.
“It’s going to be a real challenge and we’re likely to need some help with respect to our hospitals,” the governor said. “And then you have the people who may be injured as a result of the hurricane itself and so we need to make sure we have some capacity for them.”
Oxygen supplies running low in the South
As many hospitals across the country face a shortage of available beds and staff, there’s another concern in the South: a shortage of oxygen.
According to state health officials and hospital consultants, there are several hospitals across Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana that have experienced oxygen shortages, with some at risk of moving to their reserve supply or even running out of oxygen.
“As Covid has continued to evolve, we have continued to see Covid care best practices continue to evolve, and that in part has…