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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 jumped from 204 to 1,345 in July in Alabama.

Health officials say they are worried the state will soon see numbers that match, or exceed, the previous peak of the pandemic.  

Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said state hospitals are seeing an increase of about 70 to 90 patients per day with COVID-19. The number reached 1,345 on Friday, up from 204 at the beginning of the month.

Alabama’s status as the least vaccinated state in the country have caused health officials to emphasize the need for mask-wearing and vaccinations.