Governor Kay Ivey is facing criticism from within her own administration over what many are calling a ‘passive’ handling of the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth on Wednesday sent a memo to Alabama’s COVID-19 Response Team in which he criticized the state’s response to the virus, explaining he does not believe the task force has taken a “realistic review” of what lies ahead and “doubts” the state’s preparations.
“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 in the memo. “Every health specialist with whom I have spoken is anxious about surge capacity and has expressed doubts about our preparations.”
According to the memo, has spoken with officials at both UAB Hospital and Huntsville Hospital and had several discussions with Dr. Don Williamson, the former state public health officer and current president and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association, and his staff in hopes of having a comprehensive statewide plan drafted that will help prepare for the impending spread of the virus.
Ainsworth is calling on the task force to take a more proactive approach to the virus and make a plan now.
“I believe that the public’s safety and simple common sense demand that we create a formal plan to double or even triple hospital capacity and also provide for adequate staffing levels. Even with the help of federal government and FEMA assistance, building capacity takes time, which is why we need to take action now,” he explained. “No one will ever fault us for being over prepared for the worst case scenario, but blame will be well deserved if we chose to wait for whatever comes and do nothing to prepare.”
Read Ainsworth’s full memo below: