ALABAMA (WHNT) – With the increase in travel around the holiday season, Alabama health officials say it’s possible the state will see a spike in cases over the next couple of months.
“The CDC is concerned that we could see a rise in the number of COVID-19 infections, and we’re already seeing some of that already,” said Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) District Medical Officer Wes Stubblefield.
Following the last holiday season, North Alabama saw a major spike in COVID-19 cases. During January and February of 2022, Alabama experienced its highest numbers of the year.
Many counties in North Alabama are currently showing high community transmission rates, indicating more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 are reported in those counties each week. Before Thanksgiving, the ADPH saw about 400 new cases in the state per day. That number has now doubled.
In November, hospitalizations for the flu were higher than for COVID, but Stubblefield said while flu numbers are down, COVID cases are up. Currently, 300 in-patients have COVID. Because hospitals are serving patients with COVID, the flu and routine illnesses, Stubblefield said some hospitals are seeing a strain on their bed availability.
He said he encourages those who plan to travel for the holidays to check local transmission rates and take precautions.
“We just need to be very cautious,” Stubblefield said. “That’s why we want people to stay up to date on their vaccination. If they are high risk, they consider talking to their provider about what happens and medication and treatment that’s right for them.”
Stubblefield said Alabama may just have a period of high transmission rates like the state saw in the summer.
“We sort of saw a sustained increase in transmission, but not that gigantic spike like we saw last summer,” Stubblefield said.
A new COVID booster is available. It combines the original vaccine with a protein that better combats later COVID strands, like Omicron. Stubblefield said all the case currently circulating in the state are of the Omicron lineage.