Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said on Wednesday that of four regional hospitals, one was short of three ICU beds, two had no ICU beds, and one only had one bed.
“Right now, if you are from Montgomery, and you need an ICU bed, you are in trouble,” Reed said at a press conference. “If you’re from central Alabama, and you need an ICU bed, you might not be able to get it.”
The health care system is the state capital “at its maximum,” Reed said.
Montgomery County has more than 1,000 cases and 28 people have died, according to state health department data.
Reed told CNN that his hope to use these cruel terms was to get public attention.
“This is a serious problem and we must maintain our practice even though many people are relaxed and the economy is recovering,” Reed said in a telephone interview.
“We need to take more individual responsibility in how we live our daily lives. In this community we are not in a safe place given the amount we see.”
Birmingham cases are on the rise
In Birmingham, the most populous city in Alabama, corona virus cases have also increased sharply.
Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located, had 1,453 confirmed cases on Thursday, according to state health department data – which was a 35% jump from 1,075 cases reported two weeks ago. The district has 85 deaths attributed to Covid-19.
Part of this increase can be attributed to increased testing, said State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers, according to WBRC.
Reed said he believed the ICU’s bed shortage was directly linked to the country’s easing restrictions.
“That must be part of opening up too fast and not complying with CDC guidelines,” Reed said.
Governor of Alabama, Kay-Ivey’s order to stay home does not take effect until April 4, and ends at the end of the month. Ivey replaced it with a command that facilitates restrictions.
On May 11, restaurants and bars were allowed to serve on-site customers, a fitness center and athletic facilities, hair and nail salons and barber shops were allowed to open. Groups of any size are allowed, as long as the 6 foot distance guide is followed.
Ivey announced the reopening Thursday, including entertainment venues, child care facilities and summer camps. Schools are allowed to open next month.
Many patients in the Montgomery regional hospital are not from the city, but from rural areas where the health care system cannot meet community needs, Reed said.
“We don’t want to lose anyone, any life, because we don’t have the resources to care for them in this community,” Reed said. “I want us to really think about that seriousness because none of us knows who will need an ICU bed today, and who might need it tonight, tomorrow, or this extended Memorial Day weekend.”