Nurse describes conditions inside a COVID-19 unit

“These people are the sickest of the sick.” Hear from one of the nurses helping COVID patients inside UAB Hospital.

Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

Jake Perkins has been on the front lines at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the fight against COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The registered nurse is at the bedsides of patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UAB Hospital.

“These people are the sickest of the sick. Unfortunately, some people die here,” Perkins said.  “The majority of the people in our unit right now are on ventilators. They’re sedated. They can do nothing for themselves.” 

During the most recent surge, he has noticed a few differences. He is seeing younger patients and more women who are pregnant. Perkins says many of the patients have not been conscious in a few weeks. “Some, as soon as they are conscious again, are asking about their family, their loved ones and asking for the vaccine.”

Perkins encourages everyone to take steps to keep themselves and the community safe, including getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. “It’s not political. No one has a political agenda here. It’s just safety. It’s just health care. We just want people to take care of themselves and of each other.”