Alabama’s COVID positivity rate at all-time high

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 3:40 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The numbers continue to look bad for Alabama as the number of COVID cases continue to rise.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting over 3,800 new cases Thursday.

The positivity rate basically tells you the percentage of people tested that contract COVID-19. It also shows how fast the Delta variant is spreading across Alabama.

Health leaders want to see it under 5%. The state is currently over four times that rate. Back in June, for one day Alabama’s positivity rate dropped down below 4% to about 3.8%. This week, the state is setting records just about every day.

“On the worst day of the pandemic, we were at 22.6%. Yesterday, we exceeded our previous record and Thursday we exceeded yesterday’s record,” said Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association.

Alabama is now standing at 23.6% - an all-time high.

A top infectious disease doctor at UAB said the high rate demonstrates the spread of the pandemic.

“It’s an indication this virus is running rampant through our community right now and it’s especially hitting unvaccinated people,” said Dr. Michael Saag.

The head of the Alabama Hospital Association said the high rate tells him just how bad the Delta variant surge is going to be.

“Over the next several weeks, God forbid the next several months, we are going to see high case loads and probably increasing case loads,” Williamson said.

That means more people testing positive and more hospitalizations which will put even more stress on state hospitals to provide healthcare for everyone.

The answer will not be easy. “We either are going to bring it down by letting it burn through the acceptable population or we are going to bring it down by people wearing masks and most importantly getting vaccinated,” Williamson said.

The change will not happen fast. “This is a bit like steering an ocean liner. We can start turning the wheel heading in the right direction, but it’s going to take several weeks for this to reverse,” Saag said.

People getting shots in arms is welcomed, but it takes time for you to see immunity. That is not going to help slow the spread of the Delta variant anytime soon, so health leaders continue to urge people to wear masks and stay socially distant in crowds.

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