COVID-19 hospitalization rate down in Alabama

Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama is starting to see a slight decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

It’s the first sign of relief for health care workers as post-holiday surges crippled hospitals across the state.

Our Kate Smith spoke with the President and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association for what to watch for in the days ahead.

“We are looking at 30% plus declines in hospitalization,” said Dr. Don Williamson. “We are likewise looking at 40% decline in daily new cases.”

The number of new cases reported across the state each day is going down, but Dr. Williamson said hospital staff is still reporting a high rate of deaths and ICU patients.

“In the last 21 days we’ve only had two days where we had more than 100 ICU beds.”

He said it is still too soon to credit the vaccine for the downward trend in positive case count.

“We have a relatively small number people at this point in Alabama who had gotten two doses. I think there is still a long way to go to say vaccines are driving it down.”

Since mid-December, more than half of million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine were delivered to hundreds of health care providers across the state.

As of the latest data provided from the ADPH, 51 percent of the allotment has been administered.

“Vaccine supply stays open and as it continues to get better and as more providers come online, we can definitely vaccinate more people,” said Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Dr. Williamson is optimistic with the latest hospital numbers but cautions the new reported variants of the virus is giving him pause. He said because we still lack herd immunity, numbers could spike again with the new variants—crippling hospital systems around the state once again.

“The real game changer here that could undo all the benefits of the vaccine is if we see rapid transmission of the variant virus. If the new variant becomes dominant. that one person doesn’t give ten people the virus, they give 15-17 (people). The more people who get infected, the more people to infect other people, and we are right back to where we were.”

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