JCDH keeps an eye on COVID cases as The World Games starts

New omicron variant spreading fast, mask wearing suggested
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County’s Health Department is keeping a close eye on rising COVID cases as visitors from around the world come into town for The World Games.

The COVID test positivity rate is inching closer to 30%.

It’s still not as high as the peak we saw back in the winter months, but it’s a far cry from the 5% doctors said they’re comfortable with.

“There’s always a little bit of anxiety about what’s going on with COVID,” said Medical Director of Disease Control for JCDH, Dr. Wesley Willeford.

The COVID test positivity rate in Jefferson County is just slightly higher than what the state is seeing.

Dr. Willeford said cases are climbing slowly, but steadily.

“This current uptick in cases that we’ve seen is behaving a little differently. It’s certainly moving much more slowly than it has in the past,” Dr. Willeford explained.

And as cases of COVID increase, so do the number of hospitalizations.

Right now, the Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting 507 patients in the hospital.

“I think our hospitals remain ready based on my discussions with people within the community. Certainly, we hope those resources won’t be needed…that it’ll just be a small increase and not a huge increase in the number of people hospitalized,” Dr. Willeford said.

He said two cousins of the Omicron strain are driving up cases: BA.4 and BA.5, which have similar symptoms.

“I’ve heard a lot of people complaining of kind of sinus congestion, ear congestion so that earache sort of feeling can occur with this, but a lot of it kind of falls in line of these cold and flulike symptoms is typically how it starts,” Dr. Willeford explained.

The entire state of Alabama is in the high-risk category for spreading COVID-19.

Dr. Willeford said you may want to considering masking up when indoors.


Subscribe to our WBRC newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email.

Copyright 2022 WBRC. All rights reserved.