DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — For the first time since July, which was the height of the Delta variant in Alabama, Alabama has less the 500 people fighting COVID-19 in its hospital.
According to Dr. Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association, it’s a great sign that COVID hospitalizations aren’t as high as they were at the height of the Delta variant, but medical experts say even with the number of hospitalizations we have now in our state, it still isn’t a safe place for our health care system.
Williamson said if you compare where the state is now, in terms of hospitalizations numbers, to where Alabama was on June the 30, just before the spike started, the situation looks much better but in reality, we are still high COVID hospitalization numbers.
“We still have twice as many people in the hospital, twice as many people on ventilators, and twice as many people in the ICU. Yes, we are moving in the right direction, but we are not back where we were before the spike began,” Dr. Williamson said.
As of Friday, the state had a total of 465 COVID-19 patients, Williamson said while these numbers are great and we are headed in the right direction, there is still a high transmission rate in the community, and tied low vaccination rates could lead to another rise in hospitalizations.
“Not only do we still have COVID going on with almost 500 people who are also in the hospital and we also still have people having strokes, heart attacks, motor vehicle accidents, cancer, all the other things,” Dr. Williamson said. “That is happening to people and those people are still going to take up beds, so just because COVID-19 seems to be retreating doesn’t mean hospitals are not continuing to see relatively full facilities.”
Medical experts believe, even though numbers seem to be going lower every day, there is much more work that needs to be done in order to keep the community protected against another surge or possible COVID-19 variant emerging.
“In order for us to think we got this in a much better place, I’d love to see our hospitalization numbers under 200, certainly somewhere under 150, 160, would get us back to where we were in June,” Dr. Williamson said. “We would like to see our daily case count down to under 200 if we could see those things and more importantly maintain those things under a period of time, make us feel we were in a much better position.”
Once again Dr. Williamson doesn’t see an end in sight for this pandemic but he encourages everyone to wear a mask and get vaccinated to not only protect themselves but their family and the community.