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Editor’s Note: Alabama Dept. of Public Health originally reported 9,266 cases in children and teens but it was corrected to 9,266 total cases in both children and adults. This article was updated to reflect this correction.

ALABAMA – The state of Alabama is seeing record high COVID-19 case counts and not just in adults. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 9,266 cases of COVID-19 among Alabamians – and that was just in one day: Thursday.

By age:

  • 3.1% were age 0-4
  • 4.3% were age 5-11
  • 5.3% were age 12-17

For comparison, 16,035 cases of COVID-19 were reported among all but four of Alabama’s 143 school systems this past week versus 2,940 cases a week ago.

In a statement on Friday, Children’s of Alabama reported another record number of patients hospitalized withCOVID-19 at 49. That beats Thursday’s record of 35. Prior to the surge caused by the Omicron variant, Children’s previous high was 29 patients on September 17, 2021.

The biggest advice for parents from health experts?

  • Get their children vaccinated if they’re eligible
  • Make sure they wear well-fitting masks in schools
  • Minimize their exposure to COVID-19 in schools and public places

“In the crisis of higher virus transmission with the Omicron variant, immediate measures are critical. School-wide masking is at the top of the list of preventive steps that need to be implemented. Masks can still make a difference in school settings and allow students to remain in class, if properly used.”

ADPH District Medical Officer Dr. Wes Stubblefield

Among children 5-11, only 10.5% have started their vaccinations, with 35.5% of those 12-17 doing the same. As of Friday, only the two-shot Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for those 5 to 17 years old.

“The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is extremely contagious and fast-spreading. Pediatric hospitalizations are at record high numbers, and we continue to see children with serious complications of COVID-19 infections such as MIS-C. Parents should take the current COVID-19 outbreak seriously as it poses a very real threat to the health and well-being of their children. Children depend on their parents to protect them by minimizing their exposure to high-risk settings, to teach good masking practices and other preventive measures, as well as getting them vaccinated if eligible.”

American Academy of Pediatrics Alabama Chapter President Dr. Katrina Skinner

ADPH reported 2,091 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Thursday, with 71 of those being 17 years old and younger – three were in intensive care with one on a ventilator.