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COVID hospitalizations getting close to all-time high

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:21 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are getting close to an all-time high. The Alabama Department of Health is reporting 2,946 patients right now because of this virus. State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, shares our highest hospitalizations was early last year with more than 3,000 people.

Now he warns we may surpass that number and the latest surge might impact the care you or your loved one needs.

These hospitalizations have steadily increased for more than a month and health officials say the highly contagious Omicron variant is now impacting the hospital staff.

Doctors say the good news is we have more treatment to fight the virus and Omicron does not appear to be as severe.

But according to Dr. Harris, the increase in patients is causing a problem for reasons we may not realize.

“A lot of people are in the hospital for other things,” says Dr. Harris. “They go in to deliver a baby or they have hip surgery. They have a car accident and come to the ER then are found incidentally to have COVID. Now it’s good for the patient that they aren’t suffering from illness from COVID but you know from the hospital standpoint it doesn’t make that big of a difference. They still have to isolate that patient and use PPE. Their staffs at risk for getting infected so are other patients”

This is what Dr. Harris is describing as incidental infections. It’s when someone is hospitalized for another reason, and then test positive for COVID during routine testing.

UAB’s latest numbers show about 40% of their COVID partners have these incident infections.

For more on COVID numbers in Alabama, click here.

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