Is a new surge of COVID-19 on the horizon? A local medical expert weighs in

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — According to new data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the state of Alabama could see a surge in COVID infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths.

According to Corey Kirkland with the Alabama Department of Public Health, with low vaccination rates across the state, medical professionals are worried about a possible surge of COVID happening in the fall.

Kirkland said, how severe that surge, depends on the number of vaccinations given out.

“About 32 percent of our population is vaccinated,” Kirkland said. “We are giving, unfortunately, about four to five thousand vaccines statewide. That is down from our April high total which was 45,000 in one day.”

Kirkland said a COVID surge in the Wiregrass wouldn’t be an ideal situation, since it will put a strain on the healthcare system, workers, and businesses. He said people ages 18 to 49 are the ones being least vaccinated at this time. That is why he encourages them to do their part to help their community stay healthy and safe.

“If you are willing to get vaccinated but maybe you have been putting it off, find time to do that soon,” Kirkland said. “It will certainly help to go into the Fall with schools and businesses and it will keep a surge to a very small surge and even a temporary situation.”

In the Wiregrass, Flowers Hospital and Southeast Health have both seen an increase in hospitalizations. According to Kirkland, 96 percent of overall hospitalizations were for people who weren’t vaccinated.

He said it’s important for people who have received their vaccine, to encourage their family and friends who question or haven’t made time to get their vaccines before the end of summer. This is the only way to prevent new strains and any future surges from happening.

“If you can help educate on why you got vaccinated, where you got vaccinated, how long it took, those things would be very helpful and maybe pointing people to information that helps you,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland said it’s a critical time in the fight against the virus. He tells WDHN, it has never been so easy to get a vaccine.

The Houston County Health Department has COVID vaccines readily available, and he said residents can even walk into many local pharmacies to get their shot.

Kirkland emphasizes each vaccine given will lower the possibility of any surges.

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