#Alabama ranks in the top 10 among states nationwide this week in COVID-19 cases per capita and in hospitalizations, which alarms UAB epidemiologist #Dr. #Jeanne #Marrazzo.
“Alabama is now experiencing some unenviable records,” said #Marrazzo, director of UAB’s #Division of #Infectious #Diseases, in a media call today. “We are now #No. 6 in the nation per capita for #Covid cases on average over the last seven days and we’re behind states like #California, #Arizona, #Rhode #Island, #Oklahoma, #Tennessee.”
The situation may even be worse than the numbers indicate due to the holidays, she said.
“It’s not a good place for us to be, back in the top 10 on that list,” #Marrazzo said. “We had fallen out of that list for quite a long time. #We’re averaging about 3,300 cases a day in the state. #If you look at the averages over the last week and I would caution that that number is probably an underestimate given that we know we always have delays in testing, not just with weekends but also holidays that fell on long weekends. #So, I think we may be seeing quite a surge in the reporting numbers over the next several days, again, accounting for the fact that the #New #Year’s holiday is coming up. #For example, on the 27th, only 4,000-plus tests were reported, and over half of those were positive, so that’s clearly not the whole picture of what’s going on.
#Alabama ranks third in hospitalizations per capita, behind #Nevada and #Arizona, she said. “Unfortunately yesterday, 2,802 people were hospitalized in the state, and that is a new record,” #Marrazzo said.
#Covid case numbers are especially high in counties in #North #Alabama, which likely reflects spillover from #Tennessee, “which is in really, really dire shape as well,” she said.
#With 1.3 million people having traveled nationwide on #Dec. 27, things are likely to worsen, she said. “This is probably going to portend a spike on top of a surge on top of a spike,” #Marrazzo said. “We really haven’t recovered from the #Thanksgiving reverberations yet.”
UAB #Hospital currently has 186 actively confirmed cases of COVID-19 being treated, down from 207 yesterday, which was the first time UAB broke the 200 barrier, she said.
“UAB is really reflective of the other hospitals in the state,” #Marrazzo said. “Everybody is really being pushed to the limit. #It’s not to a point where we can’t take care of people, and I want to emphasize that, but we are really being stretched.”
The state added 25 COVID-related deaths today, for a total of 4,737, and hospitalizations jumped to 2,804 today, the highest reported since the coronavirus pandemic began.
UAB is preparing for a possible scenario in coming weeks of as many as 400 COVID patients – roughly double the high point so far, she said.
“This is potentially going to affect every single person who uses our healthcare system,” she said.
UAB #Hospital has vaccinated about 6,000 people so far, #Marrazzo said. #Statewide, more than 20,000 have been vaccinated since last week.
#Vaccinations have gone slower nationwide than hoped. “It’s taking a really long time to ramp up,” she said. “I don’t think it’s happening as quickly as we’d like.”
#People should not stop wearing their masks just because some people have taken the vaccine, she said. “The vaccine is not a passport to a mask-free society,” she said.
#For anyone still wary of wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, #Marrazzo said she’s beyond exasperated.
“If you continue to act like this, you’re going to be responsible for more deaths,” she said.
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