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Alabama COVID-19 hospitalizations more than double in a week; over 500

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The frustration is rising as more and more hospital beds across the state fill up. Health leaders say we missed a golden opportunity to get this pandemic under control.

Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, says spring was the chance to wipe out the virus. That’s because many people considered high risk got vaccinated and people were still wearing masks.

But now, you don’t see many masks, and he says the Delta Variant is starting to catch up with us.

554 COVID-19 patients are spending Tuesday night in hospitals around Alabama. Last week, that number was 260.

“At the rate of expansion that we’ve seen in the just the last seven days, we could find ourselves with a thousand people in the hospital by the end of July,” Williamson said.

Doctor Don Williamson says the situation is very serious.

“We still have our 65 and older population with 2/3 vaccinated, but if you move from 50 down, the rate of vaccination goes down dramatically to where we’re under 35% fully vaccinated for people in their 20s, 30s, and even their 40s,” he explained.

Dr. Williamson says the main reason we’re seeing a big jump in cases is that the Delta variant is much more contagious.

“That has 1,000 times the viral load of the original variant.”

Meanwhile, across the states hospitals are seeing more beds fill up.

“About a month ago, it used to be down in the thirties.”

Dr. Ali Hassoun with Huntsville Hospital says that’s now doubled, with around 60 COVID patients in the Huntsville Hospital Health System.

That’s why he and Williamson say, if you won’t get vaccinated, the least you can do is mask up.

“Try to follow at least the guidelines of wearing masks while indoor and the physical distancing and avoiding the crowd,” Dr. Hassoun said.

“The message that I’m hearing from our administrators and staff is one of frustration. This is a movie we’ve seen before,” Williamson said.

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