Health leaders worry large gatherings will cause another surge

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Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State health officials are worried about a potential spike in COVID-19 cases in Cullman county after two weekends in a row of large outdoor events.

“The potential for huge spread is certainly there,” Alabama Department of Public Health’s Northern District Administrator Judy Smith said. “The concern is not about Cullman. The concern is about large gatherings anywhere in the state. We know that anytime you put a large group of folks together, the potential for spread of any kind of disease is multiplied tremendously.”

ADPH dashboard reports that Cullman County has a 16.4 percent positivity rate and a high risk of community transmission, but Smith says the surge will likely also impact other counties and even other states.

“All these people are not Cullman folks, people come from multiple counties, probably from out of state,” Smith said. “If there is spread among the multitudes that are there, not only is Cullman going to be affected, but so is everywhere else that these folks live.”

Smith said with the state’s low vaccination numbers and positivity rate at 22. 4 percent, she worries about the impact on hospitals.

“You’ve got hospitals that are already reporting that they are overrun,” Smith said. “That they have limited beds. They have no ICU beds available. We literally cannot take anymore. When our hospitals are like they are right now, it’s just a tremendously scary situation.”

With Labor Day events right around the corner, Smith urges everyone to wear a mask and remain distanced.

“A mask for an event is certainly better than two or three weeks in the hospital,” Smith said.

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