Alabama hospitals seeing more COVID-19 patients

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced the state has more than 300 people in state hospitals with COVID-19. That is up from just last month. The increase is not a problem yet, but state hospitals will tell you it’s a trend going in the wrong direction.

While Alabama hospitals are concerned about the increasing numbers they are not surprised. In part because only 33% of the state is fully vaccinated and the very contagious Delta variant is continuing to spread.

“I’m not surprised. In fact I would not be surprised to see the case count continue to rise for the very same reasons, on top of that we just had the 4th of July,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.

Alabama health leaders continue to say they are not expecting to see the huge surge of patients the state saw last fall and the earlier part of this year, but they are alarmed at the sudden increase in patients.

“Looking at where we are now just a few weeks ago we were under 200 hospitalizations. Now we are up to 341 as of yesterday. I certainly think we are heading in a very bad direction,” Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said.

The only way to stop the spread would be getting COVID vaccine shots. Immunity will take weeks, in the meantime unvaccinated people need to wear masks and stay out of crowds.

Williamson said state hospitals won’t be overwhelmed but it could be a problem. “I can absolutely see in a community where you have low vaccination rates you could have a sustained outbreak and increase hospitalization in that community.” Williamson said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported more than 94% of people currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

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