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Dr. Harris: COVID-19 deaths at a ‘really high rate’ in Alabama

Dr. Harris said 2020 will be the first year in the history of Alabama where there were more deaths than births.
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:40 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the number of COVID-19 deaths is at a really high rate in Alabama.

Dr. Harris started his weekly COVID-19 media update Friday by saying he was going to talk about deaths.

Over the past couple of weeks Alabama has seen double digit deaths on a daily basis.

Dr. Harris said 2020 will be the first year in the history of Alabama where there were more deaths than births. There were 64,714 deaths (still preliminary) and 57,641 births. Harris said, “It’s never been close before.”

Since 2020, seven pregnant women have died from COVID-19 in Alabama. Currently there are 23 pregnant women hospitalized with COVID-19.

Alabama still has no ICU beds available and Harris said that makes getting people critical care a major challenge. He said hospitalizations have actually decreased over the past week, but critical cases continue to stress Alabama hospitals.

As of September 16 there were 53 children in the hospital for COVID-19. Six children were on ventilators.

Dr. Harris said Alabama continues to increase in COVID-19 vaccinations. We are ahead of eight states for the first shot and ahead of three states for people who are fully vaccinated.

The FDA is meeting Friday about vaccine booster doses. Harris said we will have to see what they vote. They are only talking about the Pfizer vaccine. The state has some steps to go through before Alabama can start offering more boosters.

Federal teams have just completed assessments at eight hospitals across Alabama, including DCH and RMC, to look closely at the need for COVID-19 healthcare resources. State health leaders will get an update from HHS on when or how many federal teams we may get help from. There are federal teams working at hospitals in Ozark and Dothan.

Dr. Harris talked about the change in monoclonal antibody therapy distribution. Harris said this has really disrupted the supply for states including Alabama. He said health leaders are really sorry to say there are probably some patients who are not going to get this treatment who thought they were.

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