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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Dr. Scott Harris, the top medical official in Alabama who has been at the head of all COVID-19 protocols since the start of the pandemic in 2020, has tested positive for the virus.

“I would like to let everyone know that I tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday,” Harris said in a statement. “Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated and have already received my second booster shot. I am having only mild symptoms and will be working from home this week while remaining isolated according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

Harris has been state health officer of Alabama since 2017, but became more visible the last couple of years through the pandemic, taking on a role as the leading voice of how the virus was impacting Alabamians and what guidance should be taken.

Harris’ diagnosis comes at a time when the COVID-19 infection rate has been down statewide. In the last 24 hours, there have only been 156 cases reported across Alabama, although testing is down. However, health officials believe another strain of the virus could be coming within the next few months, bringing cases back up again.

“While case numbers have declined recently in Alabama, this serves as a reminder that COVID-19 continues to circulate in our state,” Harris said. “The single best way to prevent serious illness or death is to be fully vaccinated and boosted.”