By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama lieutenant governor on Wednesday criticized the state’s lack of preparation and response for what is expected to be a surge in coronavirus patients in the coming weeks and months.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth sent off a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey’s COVID-19 response team in an effort to bring light to their lack of preparation to the growing number of cases that have already begun to strain the health care industry. The letter, obtained by the Alabama Political Reporter, is highly critical of Alabama’s response to what Ainsworth believes will soon be a “tsunami” of coronavirus patients in state hospitals.
“A tsunami of hospital patients is likely to fall upon Alabama in the not too distant future, and it is my opinion that this task force and the state are not taking a realistic view of the numbers or adequately preparing for what awaits us,” Ainsworth wrote. “Every health specialist with whom I have spoken is anxious about surge capacity and has expressed doubts about our preparations.”
Ainsworth predicts that by May 1, Alabama will have more than 245,000 cases with more than 30,000 people hospitalized and with more than 6,382 ICU patients.
“Time is our enemy, and each moment that we lose by not preparing for the coming deluge will result in the loss of life and the crippling of our healthcare infrastructure,” Ainsworth wrote. “Hospitals need our immediate help to expand capacity, but it will require an ‘all hands on deck’ approach and the willingness of all involved to make it a priority.”
Ainsworth recommends that in an effort to curtail staffing shortfalls, Alabama will need to begin contacting family doctors and staff to assist with patients and to begin constructing plans for doubling or tripling the state’s hospital bed capacity.
“No one will ever fault us for being over-prepared for the worst-case scenario, but blame will be well deserved if we choose to wait for whatever comes and do nothing to prepare,” Ainsworth wrote.
You can read the full letter here.
There are now 386 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Alabama as of Wednesday afternoon. One hundred and twenty-nine of those confirmed cases are in Jefferson County and six are in St. Clair County. There has been one reported death associated with the outbreak in the state.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Alabama
Updated: March 25, 2020 5:00 p.m. (CT)
County of Residence
Total Tested: 2,812