HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — COVID-19 cases are trending higher across the county bringing increases in hospitalizations once again. In the Wiregrass, there’s concern that the new omicron sub-variant could drive up cases, especially with this weekend’s Easter holiday.
Reports of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been the lowest here in the Wiregrass since the start of the pandemic. However, with the BA.2 variant accounting for more than 80% of all COVID-19 cases in the nation, state medical experts want Alabamians to know that COVID is nowhere close to being over.
“As people go into any holiday any gatherings settings, anytime people are together or in close quarters, what they need to understand is what is going on in their community in their county,” Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health said. “Who they are around, their risk factors, and whether or not those people have been vaccinated.”
At this time, BA.2 cases make up 86% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and across the south, those cases make up close to 75% of all new coronavirus infections. This is why Stubblefield believes if you are sick with COVID-19 right now you are more than likely to be infected with BA.2 or also known as the stealth variant.
“We do screen certain specimens for the variant and what we are finding is that variant level has gone up,” Dr. Stubblefield said.
Even with the BA.2 variant taking over the original omicron variant, COVID-19 levels in Alabama are low. The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 2.8% with all counties in the Wiregrass having a positivity rate lower than 2%.
However, state medical experts are monitoring a possible increase of cases due to the BA.2 variant.
“The numbers are consistent day-to-day, in terms of the number of new cases, the percent positivity, the number of people still in the hospitals,” Dr. Stubblefield said. “Those have all been pretty consistent over the last few weeks, so COVID is still here, it is still infecting people.”
Despite low levels of COVID in Alabama, state medical experts tell WDHN that if you are at high risk or prone to severe illness, it’s important that you keep up with CDC guidelines, especially though out this upcoming holiday weekend.