State health leaders provide update on COVID-19 in Alabama


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — New calls to get vaccinated as the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the state of Alabama. As of Monday, the entire state of Alabama is considered high risk for community spread of COVID-19, and with case counts reaching record highs, health officials are warning caution.

“So the numbers are in an area we’ve never seen before,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.

COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alabama as the new year rolls in.

“We set a new record several times last week in terms of the number of new cases. We’ve had over 8,000 new cases reported to us in a single day a couple of times just in the past week,” Harris said.

Dr. Harris said these numbers don’t indicate all the positive tests.

“Right now one out every three people who go for a test, has that test come back positive. Bu, we don’t have any visibility on the antigen tests people are doing at home. Those are not reported to us, so probably there are many more people out there who are infected than we know about,” Harris said.

Meanwhile, the highly contagious omicron variant is spreading rapidly and now is impacting healthcare workers.

“Right now one of our biggest problems healthcare facilities are facing is the number of healthcare workers who are sick themselves and getting infected with omicron, even vaccinated staff because this is just an infectious variant,” Dr. Harris said.

And with students heading back to school, Dr. Harris said getting vaccinated and boosted are the best ways to stop the spread.

“Our guidance for public health has not changed so we still support public masking in our k-12 schools. We still think it’s very important for people to be vaccinated. Virtually all school aged children are eligible to be vaccinated.”

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