Health experts warn of delta virus ahead of Fourth of July celebrations

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As America celebrates Independence Day, Alabama health experts warn of COVID-19 and its variants during the celebrations especially for those who have not been vaccinated.

In the past 14 days, there have been over 200 new COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County. Cases have been on the rise in the past few weeks. That’s why the Alabama Department of Public Health has listed Jefferson County, along with 21 other counties, under the very high-risk category.

If you’re part of 32% of Alabamians that are fully vaccinated, you have the green light to celebrate.

“If you’re fully vaccinated go out have a good time enjoy yourself and you should be pretty safe,” said Medical Director of Disease Control at Jefferson County Health Department Wesley Willeford.

But you’re not vaccinated, health experts are urging you to follow CDC guidelines.

“We highly recommend people being careful especially with tight gatherings with lots of people indoor those are going to be the highest risk situations and we would recommend wearing a mask for people in those situations who are not vaccinated,” said Willeford.

This week the Alabama Department of Public Health put Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Shelby, St. Clair, and Talladega counties under the high-risk COVID-19 category.

“The absolute number of cases is still pretty low compared to where we were six months ago, but they are definitely headed in the wrong direction, and I think that’s a reason for us to be concerned,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

Dr. Harris says there have been around 300 cases a day this past week. He says it’s the most the department has seen in the past couple of months.

“Nows not the time to let your guard down if you’re not vaccinated then you’re at risk of this disease that is still circulating and is increasing in numbers in about a third of our counties,” said Dr. Harris.

The best way you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated.

“The Pfizer, the Moderna, the johnson and johnson there are a lot of different options for people and we still highly recommend to keep yourself healthy and out of the hospital and hope to keep you from having a bad outcome to this virus,” said Willeford.

TThe Jefferson County Health Department says the Delta Variant is present in the area and it’s highly contagious it’s another reason to make it a priority to get vaccinated.

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