COVID three years later, ADPH shares where the state is now
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Monday, March 13th 2023 marks exactly three years since Alabama confirmed its first case of COVID.
Since then, the case count has climbed to over 1.6 million. Today, cases and hospitalizations are still reported (HYPERLINK: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7 ).
On March 25, 2020, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s first ever COVID dashboard report listed 91 hospitalized COVID patients throughout the state. The number of hospitalizations as of Sunday, March 12, 2023 was 167.
Dr. Burnestine Taylor is the Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention at the ADPH. She said they are still reporting cases, hospitalizations and deaths of this virus three years later.
She said these patients reported hospitalized are mostly elderly.
She adds that sometimes patients reported in the hospital with COVID go to the hospital because of other illnesses and test positive for the virus without realizing they have it.
However, she wants to stress that is not always the case.
“We do still have some purely COVID hospitalizations and high-risk patients,” Dr. Taylor said. “Patients with other co-existing illnesses and we do still have hospitalizations in Alabama.”
Dr. Taylor points out that their COVID case data does not reflect people who have self-diagnosed.
“You have to remember that the Omicron variant has been very mild, very mild presentation and a lot of times people feel like they have their sinuses or they feel as the pollen or allergies, but if you have persistent symptoms we still recommend that you go ahead and get tested because a lot of people actually are positive for COVID when they have very mild symptoms,” Dr. Taylor said.
As the state continues to navigate through COVID it is a much different task today than it was in 2020.
Dr. Taylor said since March 2020 Alabama has intensified its healthcare infrastructure. The state now has many COVID providers, testing availability including at home testing, and the COVID vaccine is available in every county in the state.
She said if there is an unexpected surge Alabama now has a better capacity to address it as needed.
Dr. Taylor wants to remind people it is up to them to protect their own self.
“It’s a matter of making a personal decision in terms of completing your vaccine, deciding in some instances if you want to wear a mask,” Dr. Taylor said. “There is no mandate any longer but you have to make a personal decision.”
As of today, Alabama has administered more than 6.7 million vaccines. About a third of those people completed the vaccine series. Dr. Taylor said that includes the primary series and the new bivalent booster.
“We encourage people to go ahead, in terms of protecting yourself, and go ahead and complete those series,” Dr. Taylor said.
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