CDC reports COVID uptick, Alabama numbers remain overall low

Current COVID cases appear to be milder, according to ADPH.
The latest report from the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker shows an uptick in weekly percentage test positivity in the United States.
Updated: Aug. 4, 2023 at 5:32 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The latest report from the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker shows an uptick in weekly percentage test positivity in the United States.

The CDC is not reporting a surge, but it is reporting a slight increase in both COVID hospitalizations and cases nationwide. Alabama health experts think they know why.

“Just seeing more people mobile, more people flying and more people going to various venues and concerts and other events it’s just an opportunity for transmission of the virus,” Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said.

Dr. Landers calls the most recent COVID variant mild compared to previous ones.

“By that, I mean more of an upper respiratory infection, a runny nose, certainly a sore throat or a scratchy throat, a little bit of cough,” Dr. Landers said. “We have not seen quite as many persons who have had more serious symptoms such as more serious lung disease and even the very early on symptom we used to see the loss of taste or smell. Although certainly I just had that in a case I spoke to the other day so it can still happen but I think this has adopted the profile more of a respiratory virus that we see not uncommonly.”

At AllSouth Urgent Care Dr. Beth Weaver knows those symptoms.

“Our uptick has come since the middle of July which is probably a reflection of get-togethers on the 4th of July or family trips,” Dr. Weaver said.

On Monday, 42 percent of AllSouth’s COVID tests returned positive. It is important to note that the overall volume of COVID testing is down at the clinic compared to the past.

“We didn’t do that many tests, nothing compared to what we were doing three years ago, or two years ago, or even this time last year,” Dr. Weaver said.

Dr. Weaver said the patients she sees recently who test positive for the virus are not as sick as before. However, she does hear complaints from patients who tell her they are having trouble shaking the virus and symptoms that come with it like a cough.

“The fact that it’s off people’s radar and we’re not thinking about it as much is both good and bad,” Dr. Weaver said. “It’s good because people aren’t as sick. There aren’t as many people sick. The hospitalizations are less, but the bad part is we kind of just want to live our lives again and not worry about it and I’m glad we’re not worried about it, but I still think we need to be cognizant to the fact that not everyone will tolerate it well and even if you don’t get that sick and somebody gets not that sick with it, they still don’t want their plans to change. They still don’t want to miss work. They still don’t want their kids out of school. So, the kindest thing is to be aware of your neighbor and if you’re sick don’t get around other people.”

Dr. Weaver explains it should not be shocking if cases continue to increase when school starts.

“Are we worried about it? I’m not really worried about it,” Dr. Weaver said. “But I think we still need to be aware of the fact that though the illness is not as bad as it was previously, and people aren’t as sick, there may be still vulnerable individuals who don’t tolerate it as well. So, if you feel like you’re sick, do a home test and it may just be sniffles or a little bit of a cough, but the home tests are very reliable if they are done correctly.”

The latest uptick is not that bad, but it is a stark reminder that COVID is lurking.

“You may pass it to someone who’s taking care of an elderly family member or come across someone on chemotherapy who won’t tolerate it as well,” Dr. Weaver said. “You don’t want to be out around people if you’re sick with COVID or the flu, or anyone really.”

The CDC COVID data tracker is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 8 p.m. Eastern.

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