Alabama works to slow number of COVID-19 cases

Alabama state health officer gives update on COVID-19

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama confirmed 662 new cases of coronavirus Monday bringing its total since mid-March to 152,983.

Testing for COVID-19 is up to 1.1 million and the state’s hospitals are treating 753 inpatients for the respiratory illness, up by about 50 since Friday.

“It’s a little different depending on where you are, but I will say hospitals are doing good,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

Harris said the largest number of COVID-19 patients continues to come from the largest cities, but the numbers have declined by 50 percent since August.

“We had about 1,600 in-house and now it’s about half that, so that’s better,” Harris said.

Currently, four vaccines are in the final trial phase to determine if they’re safe to be released.

Dr. believes there’s a possibility a vaccine could be available by the end of the year, but not in large amounts. The challenge will be getting the vaccine to those who really need it.

“We’re working on a plan to get it, to identify the people who are most vulnerable and who need to be protected the most," he said. "Hopefully by the spring or early summer 2021 we’ll have a vaccine out there for everybody that needs it.”

Right now, Dr. Harris says it’s important the state doesn’t become complacent.

“Don’t think that just because the numbers are low that its ok for me to go out in large groups of people, ok for me to not where my mask or ok for me to do things that may be higher risk activities. The fact that we made this progress, hopefully it’s encouragement that we’re doing the right thing and we keep doing that,” Harris said.

The state’s current health order to wear masks expires on Friday. Gov. Ivey has previously extended the health order but has not indicated what she plans to do regarding another renewal at this point.

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