Omicron keeps shattering records in Alabama, and certainly not in a good way. The Medical Association of the State of Alabama says more variants are forming at this very moment especially as cases of COVID are high.
Alabama had another record-breaking day Friday in the fight against COVID-19 with nearly 13,000 new cases of the virus reported in the 24 hours.
The highly contagious Omicron variant is surging across the state. The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed nearly 40,000 new cases in the first 7 days of 2022. The positivity rate has risen to 43.6 percent with about two out of every five tests coming back positive.
Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said in a briefing with reporters, "We are unfortunately not in a really good place right now. We are seeing the highest daily case numbers we have seen since the pandemic began.” He further stated, "It is just spreading like wildfire. Omicron will infect a very large number of people in Alabama before it finally subsides. The omicron variant that is becoming the dominant variant in this country is incredibly contagious. It is much more contagious than the delta variant and is many times more contagious than anything we have seen before.”
Alabama's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard webpage show that ALL the counties are "in the red", meaning they are all in the HIGH Level of Community Transmission in the past 7 days.
"Part of the problem is Alabama's relatively poor vaccination rate, which is the nation’s second-lowest behind Idaho. Less than 48% of Alabama's population is fully protected," said Dr. Bobby Lewis, vice chair for clinical operations with UAB's emergency department.
Alabama has risen over the past two weeks from 831.71 new cases a day on Dec. 19 to 6,139 new cases a day last week, 8,000 new cases a day recently, to 13,000 new cases Friday.
The Alabama Hospital Association said there are now five times the number of people in the hospital compared to before the holidays, which were already full before this latest spike in cases. With fewer than 10 percent of hospital beds available, the association says the best thing to do is delay getting Omicron. It reports that vaccines should protect you from serious illness or death, but it can’t promise the same outcome for an unvaccinated person.
Hospital leaders are urging people with low or no symptoms to avoid the Emergency Rooms. Instead, consult your primary doctor or local urgent care for mild symptoms and/or testing.