State Health Dept. leaders urge Alabamians to celebrate the new year safely

State Health Dept. leaders urge Alabamians to celebrate the new year safely

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - We’re very close to 2021, but a new year won’t wipe the pandemic away.

State Health Department officials are urging you to keep that in mind while celebrating the holiday this weekend.

Since Halloween, the numbers after each holiday have jumped dramatically. Following Thanksgiving we had 1,450 people in the hospital for COVID. And now, just under a week after Christmas we have 2,815 people there.

“All of north Alabama right now would be considered a hotspot,” Michael Glenn, assistant admin for the state health department’s north district said.

Percent positivity for COVID-19 tests are 36% in Madison County, 44% in Jackson County, 56% in Morgan County and 57% in Limestone County.

And Michael Glenn with the state health department says he expends the trend to continue.

“There’s nothing to lead us to believe that the numbers wont continue to go high,” Glenn said.

That’s why health officials hope people choose to celebrate the new year within their own household.

“For those large gatherings that will occur tonight and over the weekend, we would just ask that you would postpone those for a little bit until we start to see this community transmission come down some,” Glenn said.

A challenge for the New Year from Dr. Karen Landers with the state health department, taking personal responsibility for how you’re contributing to the situation.

“We’ve made it through 2020 with all of this going on and many people have lost loved ones. Many people will never have an opportunity to see their loved one again. But what can we do as individuals, what can each person do to try to stem the tide here,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers says she hopes the state health department will be able to move to Phase One B of the vaccination plan soon, that’s for people 75 years and older.

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