BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers are once again headed in the wrong direction. Statistics show statewide hospitalizations are up more than 50% from a month ago. And cases are climbing in schools just ahead of the holiday break.

The head of the Alabama Department of Public Health says officials are a little concerned about how the numbers are trending but the state’s health system is in far better condition than it was in August and September. Back then, hospitals were all but full and officials feared the network was nearing the breaking point.

Alabama has the nation’s second-highest death rate for COVID-19.