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COVID puts severe strain on hospitals

The death toll in Alabama reached 12,000 people on Monday.

While the death toll climbed, the number of deaths per day has fallen from 21 to three over the last two weeks. However, the 12,000 mark ranks Alabama as 16th in the nation for the number of people killed by COVID-19 and the 665,653 reported cases ranks Alabama as the 20th state with the most cases.

The number of positive tests also continues to rise as well as the number of people hospitalized.

The surge in the number of hospitalizations attributed to the coronavirus Delta variant dropped slightly with 2,762 patients on Sunday — only two patients less than the summer’s high mark of 2,764 which was set on Aug. 19, which was the highest number of patients hospitalized since Jan. 11, 2020, when 3,084 people were hospitalized.

Every county in the state remains at a high risk of infection, except one — Sumter County. Sumter County is one of the least populated counties in the state with only 12,797 people, ranking it at No. 60 of 67 counties according to population. Only Conecuh, Coosa, Wilcox, Bullock, Lowndes, Perry and Green counties have less population.

Statewide, the number of patients is putting stress on hospitals. Patients that require hospitalization are being sent to areas with available beds or, in some cases, out-of-state.

According to the Alabama Hospital Association, the state has 1,536 ICU beds. All are occupied and additional beds were brought in to serve a total of 1,589 patients.

The state also has 13,044 hospital beds of which 9,846 were in use.