DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama is no longer in the ‘hot seat’ when it comes to COVID-19,
the state currently sits at a 4.2% positivity rate, but there are new concerns that the upcoming holidays could make worse.

According to Dr. Don Williamson, the President of the Alabama Hospital Association there is still a whole lot of work to do in this pandemic in terms of lowering COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and he fears the upcoming weeks especially with the holidays just around the corner many challenges could make the states coronavirus situation worse.

“As long as we have substantial numbers of unvaccinated individuals, and we are still having sustained transmission in the community we had about 250 new cases diagnosed on Monday,” Dr. Williamson said. “We are always at risk of seeing the emergence of a new variant, some of what we are seeing in Europe is happening in parts of Europe that are less well vaccinated.”

State medical experts agree Alabama and many southern states experienced the Delta surge much earlier than other northern and western states. As a result, the state’s previous high spikes have now seen dramatic improvements. Even so, experts don’t want to give people a sense of false hope.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccination rate in Alabama right now is 45.5%, less than half of the state’s population.

With 297 patients fighting the virus in hospitals statewide, Dr. Williamson said medical professionals are doing everything they can but one wrong turn can change the whole situation.

“Ultimately whatever you are unable to control, if you have done everything else right, it is going to have a less of a negative effect on your population to a certain extent we are trying to do all the right things that we can to prevent any greater number of people getting ill,” Dr. Williamson said.

Medical experts said in states like Alabama these rates are crucial in telling how large future COVID-19 spikes will be which helps keep people healthy and safe.

“We can’t be complacent, there is nothing to say that we couldn’t have more increases in cases, there is nothing to say another variant won’t emerge,” Dr. Williamson said. “What we have to do is get as many people vaccinated as we can, we have to remain vigilant.”

Doctor Williamson said the only way to keep COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates low here in the south and not follow trends like in Europe or northern states is by following simply CDC guidelines like wearing a mask when going out and getting vaccinated.