Cullman, Ala., on Thursday declared a COVID-19-related state of emergency ahead of a scheduled Alabama GOP rally featuring former President Trump on Saturday as Alabama struggles with a surge in new infections and a shortage of hospital beds.
The state of emergency declaration allows the city to provide additional resources for the rally, a request that was made by the chief operating office of Cullman Regional Medical Center, which is experiencing overcrowding amid a spike in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
Alabama saw 3,890 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a seven-day moving average of about 3,000 new infections, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid Data Tracker. Cullman Regional’s latest update on Wednesday showed that the hospital was treating 56 coronavirus patients, including 12 people who are on ventilators.
The Alabama Hospital Association also revealed on Wednesday that the state has run out of intensive care unit beds, reporting a 29-bed deficit.
Trump is expected to appear at a state GOP rally in Cullman, marking his first appearance in the deep-red state in four years. John Wahl, the party’s chair, has predicted a crowd of more than 20,000.
In providing additional support at Saturday’s rally, city officials are hoping to reduce demand on Cullman Regional by handling other medical and health issues on site at the event.
“We want to prevent as many non-Covid related things as possible, so our hospital can use its resources to focus on the pandemic and its variants,” Luke Satterfield, an attorney for the city of Cullman said, according to news site AL.com. “We don’t want to put any extra strain on them.”