HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the North Alabama region is dwindling. As of April 28, 2022, the Huntsville Hospital System reported 15 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals within the whole system.

That is in stark contrast to January 28, 2022. On that date, 490 people were being treated for COVID-19 within the Huntsville Hospital System.

Huntsville area infectious disease doctor, Dr. Ali Hassoun, says the current situation is easing some stress amongst healthcare workers.

“As a healthcare professional, we definitely feel relieved at the moment,” Dr. Hassoun said.

He said with the current number of hospitalizations, it’s allowing staff to tend to their normal duties, and not feel so stressed. Hospitals have also been able to resume some more normal practices.

“At the moment, it’s really a huge difference, and we hope and pray it’s going to stay this way,” Dr. Hassoun said.

Newly reported COVID-19 case numbers are down, but all four counties in Alabama along the Tennessee border, are still in the Moderate spread category.

Current case numbers should be taken with caution, as the increased availability of at-home COVID-19 testing kits, could be skewing the number of reported new cases. However, Dr. Hassoun said it’s really important to use the hospitalization numbers for context.

Dr. Hassoun said, “It might be that the (case) numbers are higher than what we think, but the severity of illness is still on the low side which is very encouraging.” He continued, “In general, if there’s been a surge or a significant increase, we would’ve witnessed that in the hospital.”

In the last week, top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the pandemic has entered a new “moment.” Dr. Fauci clarified the U.S. is seeing more of a controlled phase of the pandemic.

Those comments, along with other COVID-19 trends, have a lot of people wondering when the U.S. could transition into an endemic.

Dr. Hassoun said, “You know in definitions when we say pandemic, it means there is a contagious disease, an infectious disease, and the contagious disease is out of control, and it’s out of control in a way that it’s not only spreading in one area, it’s actually spreading in multiple areas and in multiple countries.”

He continued to say, “At the moment we don’t see that.”

“We’re seeing it transition into a phase of what looks like endemic, and we’ll see here and there some increase in cases.”

Dr. Hassoun said, “Is it too soon to define that? I can tell you, you should always be on the cautious side because we’ve seen COVID over the past two years, and it can be unpredictable.”

He said it is encouraging how little the virus is spreading right now.

Dr. Hassoun said infectious disease experts are going to keep a close eye out for new variants and mutations. However, if none arise, and cases stay the way they are now, or better, the U.S. could see its most normal summer since 2019.