MONTGOMERY, Ala. — State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris joined elected officials U.S. Representative Terri Sewell and U.S. Senator Doug Jones Thursday to discuss the spike in COVID-19 cases in Alabama.
Alabama has seen a sharp spike in cases around the state over the past few weeks, including the state’s highest daily totals so far, on Monday and Tuesday.
“We are extraordinarily concerned about the numbers that we have been seeing,” Harris said. “We know that ADPH has, and the partners we work with, have managed to increase the number of tests we’re doing throughout the state, but that doesn’t account for the case numbers we’re seeing, or certainly doesn’t completely account for it.”
Montgomery County has seen a sharp increase in recent days, but questions remain about the sources of the increase.
“We’ve seen other hotspots in parts of the state,” Harris said. “Like in Tuscaloosa County associated with a long-term care facility, or with a workplace in Northwest Alabama. So sometimes we understand the reasons, and sometimes we do not. But clearly there is still a lot of disease transmission still going on.
And there are a lot of vulnerable people in Alabama.
“We need to remember that the people who are most at risk for serious disease are our senior citizens, or those people who have chronic health problems,” Harris said. “And, unfortunately, Alabama is not a healthy state overall, on average. And so, when we talk about people with chronic health problems, we’re talking about large numbers of our fellow Alabamians.
Nearly 600 people have died in Alabama from COVID-19, Harris said.
“The numbers, you know, do sound like numbers, they’re statistics, but it’s really to remember that every one of those numbers is a person — someone’s parent or child or brother or sister — and so we never want to lose sight of the fact we are having Alabamians who are dying from COVID-19 disease.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health reports it has tested more than 200,000 people since mid-March, including more than 70,000 people in the past two weeks.