Alabama’s public health officer continues to worry about COVID-19 numbers

Surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - With the Thanksgiving holiday near, Alabama’s COVID-19 cases continue to worry state health leaders. Alabama has almost 220,000 cumulative cases and hospitalization numbers are a concern.

The number of recent positive COVID cases and people in the hospital are two areas bothering Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

Dr. Harris said the numbers are not good and he says social gatherings continue to be the chief reason for spread in the state.

Harris said the health department sees numbers that are not going in the right direction.

“We continue to see hospitalizations numbers higher than when they were in September and October. We are seeing daily numbers higher than they were at that time as well,” Dr. Harris said.

The state’s positivity rate is approaching 10%. The good news for hospitalizations is that while they may be around a thousand, it’s not the high of 1,500 in late July and August. Deaths - while over 3,000 - are not as bad as during that same time period.

“We don’t know how COVID will interact with flu season. We know how flu season is in Alabama. We have many deaths and hundreds if not thousands of people who are hospitalized,” Harris said.

Flu and COVID are the biggest fear for overwhelming state hospitals for care. The Thanksgiving holiday is a concern with possible large family gatherings from across the country.

“I would encourage everybody to think about the most safe way to do that. In some cases would be cancel that. My family decided not to have a big in-person event. We decided it was not safe to do that,” Harris said.

Dr. Harris said if you must have it, think about the most vulnerable with older people maybe not being there or being outside or wearing masks when possible.

Harris said if people just do what they are supposed to do, the spread can be slowed.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.