Alabama surpasses 1,000 COVID hospitalizations, again
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - On Monday Alabama once again excelled the one thousand mark for caring COVID patient hospitalizations around the state. This is the first time the state has seen this number of hospitalizations since October, and numbers don’t seem to be slowing down.
“Community transmission is just spreading like wildfire right now,” Sarah Nafziger, M.D., UAB Health System Vice President of Clinical Support Services, said.
Alabama sees a daily uptick in the state positivity rate, cases and hospitalizations. On Monday the state reports caring for 1,102 hospitalized COVID patients.
But, Dr. Nafziger said this surge is different.
“We have a lot of patients who are being admitted for others things who also happen to have COVID and have very mild symptoms or not symptoms at all,” Dr. Nafziger said.
These are patients who are to go through testing who may be in for trauma or giving birth and seek medical attention other than COVID treatment. Dr. Nafziger said about 40 percent of UAB’S COVID patients are these type of cases. But, the majority of hospitalized COVID patients are very sick.
“We are seeing some people who are still getting very ill, requiring hospitalization and critical care and people are still dying from COVID,” Dr. Nafziger said.
Dr. Nafziger said Alabama is facing both the Delta variant and now Omicron.
“With Omicron it tends to be more like what we call a head cold more than a chest cold,” Dr. Nafziger said.
Sneezing, congestion, runny nose, sore throat and headache, these are the common symptoms doctors are seeing from the Omicron variant. While the Delta variant is mostly cough and fever.
“It seems like it’s not quite as severe, most cases we are seeing people are not quite as ill with this variant,” Dr. Nafziger said.
This surge is putting a strain on hospital staffing. Dr. Nafziger said at UAB they are facing breakthrough cases just like the community is, and it’s causing a bigger strain than patients themselves.
“We’re having a lot of staff who are testing positive who are having to stay out of work because of that,” Dr. Nafziger said.
But, she reminds people that vaccines prevent the severe illness this virus is capable of, including hospitalizations. Her message to people who have not yet gotten the vaccine: please don’t wait.
“If you had the opportunity to be in the hospital, to see these people who were like you, who had concerns about the vaccine, who decided to wait and then they caught COVID and they end up fighting for their life, if you saw what that looked like, I think that would change your mind for most people,” Dr. Nafziger said. “Because it’s awful, it’s terrible, it’s lonely. These people, their lives are just absolutely put on pause, destroyed and the ones who are lucky enough to survive it’s a long up hill battle coming back from it and some of them don’t make it.”
Dr. Nafziger adds with Omicron being a much more contagious variant, it is time to step up your mask game. Her, along with the CDC, recommends a medical grade mask rather than a cloth mask.
Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.
Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.