Covid cases ramp up in the Wiregrass over summer

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - All Wiregrass counties sit in the red, or “high” level, for positive covid cases.

That’s according to the latest data from Alabama Department of Public Health.

It’s a big change from low case counts over the past few months.

Health experts say one factor in the increase is summer fun and large gatherings.

It’s a surge that has local doctors like Beth Weaver saying “covid is back.”

“It is rampant right now,” says Dr. Weaver with AllSouth Urgent Care. “Today after the first six tests, I didn’t have any that were negative for covid.”

Dothan’s AllSouth Urgent Care on Ross Clark Circle is averaging 20 to 30 covid tests a day, and over half of those are positive.

Weaver continues, “Fortunately, even though it’s very communicable, the symptoms don’t seem to be quite as bad this time.”

Over at Southeast Health, doctors say community transmission rates across the state are extremely high, and causing an increase in hospitalizations, but they’re lower than what they’ve seen in the past.

“Of the 38 patients in the hospital that are covid positive, a majority of them are found to have covid coincidently and are actually admitted to the hospital for other reasons,” explains Dr. George Narby, Chief Medical Officer at Southeast Health. “However, over the last week, we have seen an up-tick in the number of people admitted to the hospital because of covid.”

A number he says is climbing slowly but relentlessly.

“The combination of a highly contagious variant, the reduction that we’ve seen in mask wearing and social distancing, means that the number of people who are going to get covid has increased dramatically,” Narby expresses.

Narby says just because this surge holds relatively mild symptoms, does not mean that will continue to be true.

He continues, “As of today, over 71 people in Houston County have died from covid since the beginning of 2022, so this remains an impactful illness.”

He believes the omicron and sub-variants are a concern Alabamians need to be aware of.

Weaver and Narby say many people are using at-home tests.

Results for those aren’t included in data from state agencies like ADPH, so the real number of cases for the area is likely higher than what’s being reported on the Alabama dashboard.

Both doctors are urging people who feel sick to not assume it’s a cold or sinus infection and get tested.

They say don’t put others at risk until you know for sure.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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