DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Across Alabama, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are on the rise, and on Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health declared three Wiregrass counties in the top five for the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in Alabama.
According to Chief Medical Officer at Southeast Health, Dr. George Narby, the COVID-19 positivity rate in the Wiregrass is extremely high. He said when looking at the data, the positivity rate, today, is the highest it has been during this whole pandemic.
Narby said the high positivity rate is a reflection of just how contagious the Delta variant is. According to Narby, someone infected with the Delta variant will give the virus to an average of five other people. Narby said the Delta variant is more contagious than chickenpox and the common cold.
“You may end up causing illness, death, and infection in people you don’t even know,” Narby said.
According to the ADPH, Dale County has the state’s highest positivity rate at 41.1%. Henry County follows in second with a rate of 38.9%. Houston county placed fifth with a positivity rate of 30.7%.
Narby said it is frustrating for medical professionals to see these numbers going backward.
“Number one, get vaccinated. Number two if you are indoors or out in public, wear a mask, maintain social distancing of six feet from other people and wash your hands,” Narby said.
Narby said the positivity rate will only decline in the Wiregrass when, and only when, people start practicing these CDC guidelines. He said it will be a dire situation if numbers get as bad as they were in January, something he described as not having to be this way.
“I think at this point in time we have all known people or experienced friends or relatives who have gotten COVID,” Dr. Narby said. “Who has experienced a long course of the illness or who have perhaps died. I don’t know what else to say about this being a very serious matter.”
A relentless, unseen, and merciless enemy is how Dr. Narby is describing the Delta variant. He said this war is nowhere close to being over. He encourages all Alabamians to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves but the whole community.