DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Only one person has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus Omicron variant so far in Alabama, but the contagion infection rates of this virus are higher than the delta variant making it possibly more dangerous

“What we know right now is it very easy to transmit,” District Administrator for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Corey Kirkland said. “Probably much easier than the delta variant. Right now we are not sure if it will cause a severe illness but even if it is as severe as the delta, we still have the possibility for a lot of sick people. The simple fact it is easier to transmit means it is a little more difficult to handle.”

Statistics show statewide hospitalizations due to the coronavirus are up more than 50% from a month ago.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham says 35 patients are hospitalized in its hospital due to coronavirus, and 26 of those are not vaccinated, 11 patients are in the ICU with COVID, and 8 are on ventilators.

President Biden announced plans to send 500 million free rapid covid tests to Americans — he is also prepared to deploy 1,000 specially trained troops to help areas heavily impacted.

Kirkland says special actions aren’t being taken here now, but with about 75 percent of cases now being Omicron variant, if it becomes prevalent in the Wiregrass, special actions will need to be taken to keep everyone safe.

“About 3/4s nationally is what’s being reported of cases in the last 45 days,” said Kirkland.

With outdoor temperatures dropping, and flu season upon us, doctors also are emphasizing the importance of getting the flu shot to protect yourself as well.

Kirkland says more people are getting vaccinated against the flu this year than in 2020 and he equates that to more people getting out this year and even says you can possibly get the vaccines at the same time.

“Certainly encourage people to get both. And there is currently no indication about not getting the two vaccines together as well, so you could possibly get that in one visit if you wanted to,” said Kirkland.