(TNS) With COVID-19 cases on the rise in several states across the United States, due in part to the highly contagious delta variant, hospitals have been left overwhelmed, many of them on the brink of capacity.
An influx of coronavirus patients, the majority of whom have not been vaccinated, have left medical and health care workers scrambling to make room for more people where there is none. In at least five states, hospital intensive care units are almost completely out of beds.
According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida and Arkansas have less than 10% of their ICU beds available.
Carol Burrell, the CEO of Northeast Georgia Health Systems said it had 287 COVID patients Monday morning, which is more than the hospital has had since the peak of the pandemic back in January.
“So, in essence, our hospitals are full,” Burrell told CNN. “We’re looking to add space in hallways and conference rooms in waiting areas. Our emergency rooms and our urgent care centers are seeing higher volume than they’ve seen throughout this pandemic.”
Other hospitals across the states are declaring themselves on diversion, a term signaling that EMS transport patients to other local facilities whenever possible, according to a news release from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
On Monday, health officials in Alabama similarly announced a record number of hospitalized COVID patients. According to the state’s Hospital Association, Alabama recorded more than 880 COVID-19 patients in the ICU on Monday, topping the previous high of 848, recorded back in January.
Statewide, more than half of all patients receiving intensive care in the state have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
At least 100 Texas hospitals reported that their ICU beds were filled to capacity between Friday, Aug. 20, and Thursday, Aug. 26. Some facilities erected tents to to handle overflow patients.