COVID-19 cases still on the rise in Alabama

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - COVID-19 cases continue rising in Alabama. The number is poised to surpass 600,000 since the pandemic began.

The rising cases are accounting for a rapid rise in hospitalizations.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported more than 3,800 new cases Thursday.

Hospitalizations are growing at such a fast rate that the state is asking people to only go to an emergency room for a true emergency and not for COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Mary McIntyre, chief medical officer with ADPH, says some hospitals are at capacity. She said some may even consider suspending routine surgeries.

McIntyre said Jackson Hospital in Montgomery is among those considering this, although no decision has been made. As of Tuesday, Jackson Hospital had 19 COVID-19 patients. Baptist Health facilities in Montgomery and Prattville treated 63 patients as of Wednesday.

She confirmed that while the number of cases is spiking, the number of deaths has not. She credited the health care workers’ growing experience in dealing with COVID-19 in helping prevent more deaths, although she said, “people are still dying.”

McIntyre said the delta variant’s spread is a factor in the rising case numbers, saying the delta variant has become the dominant strain in Alabama and nationwide.

“We’re currently at an overall percent positivity as of July the 31st of 20.5%. We got all the way down to a low of 2.9% positivity rate,” McIntyre said. “We have exceeded what we saw in late January from a percent positivity standpoint and the delta variant is driving this.”

Amid the case surge, however, the state is also seeing a rise in vaccination rates.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Alabama is one of seven states with the lowest vaccination rates. He said these states’ cases have accounted for about half of new cases and hospitalizations in the past week.

Zients said in the past seven days, Florida and Texas have accounted for about one-third of new cases and more than a third of new hospitalizations nationwide.

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