EAMC Physician: Ventilator Use Rises As Delta Variant “Seems To Make Patients Sicker” | Local News

Dr Ricardo Maldonado, left, and Dr Michael Roberts, right, speak to media in December after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Sara Palczewski /


The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations fell from 74 to 77 at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika and EAMC-Lanier in Valley on Tuesday, while COVID patients on ventilators remained at 16 for the third day in a row.

Seven days ago, 62 EAMC patients were hospitalized with COVID and six of them were on ventilators. That’s a one-week increase of 24% for hospitalizations and 167% for patients on ventilators.

The highest number of COVID patients on ventilators since the start of the pandemic was 22 from April 3 to 5, 2020, as the EAMC neared its first peak.

Two weeks ago, on August 10, the EAMC hospitalized 44 COVID patients, but only one on a ventilator.

At the time, EAMC chief of staff Dr Michael Roberts pointed to the average age of COVID-19 patients, which was declining. “Before vaccines were available,” he said, “the majority of our patients were 65 and over and therefore were more likely to have health issues which when combined with COVID- 19, can make it difficult to keep track of their body. “

Roberts said people aged 65 and over were more willing to accept the vaccine as soon as it became available than other age groups.

“At EAMC, we’ve had a lot of them in our 30s, 40s and 50s,” Roberts said of COVID patients hospitalized in mid-August. “So while ventilator use is on the decline, we still have patients who are getting very sick from COVID and, unfortunately, some in several age groups who are dying from COVID. “

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