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Federal team sent to hospital ‘crushed’ with virus patients

August 21, 2021 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal team of health care workers has been deployed to a coastal Alabama hospital that is being ‘crushed’ with a surge of COVID-19 patients, the state health officer said Friday.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending a task force team, that includes nurses, a doctor and others, to help at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley. Similar help had been sent to help in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Coastal areas have been particularly hard hit by the recent COVID-19 surge, and the team was sent to the area having the greatest need, state health officials said.

Alabama is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases that medical officials say is being fueled by low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant.

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Between July 19 and Aug. 19, Alabama went from having 500 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals to 2,764 people, including a record 50 children.

The state now has more patients receiving intensive care across the state than there are designated intensive care beds in the state, the Alabama Hospital Association said. While some hospitals have available ICU beds, other areas are over capacity and have converted other beds to intensive care.

“The biggest crush of patients we are seeing now is in the southern part of the state, from Mobile to Dothan,” Harris said.