COVID-19 case rates keep rising, UAB doctor urges families to stay distant and alive

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama is averaging more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases a day over the past two weeks.

The Huntsville City Schools reports it has 1,760 students and staff quarantined over the past two weeks.

Madison County is averaging 130 new cases a day over the past week — and the Huntsville Hospital system is reporting a new high in COVID-19 patients — 239.

Clearly the trendlines are all unfavorable — with one big exception — the U.S. is trending closer and closer to a vaccine becoming available.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is holding a news conference Monday to update the public on details of its vaccination plan.

In the meantime, hospital numbers are continuing to grow.

The State of Alabama is reporting more than 1,300 COVID-19 patients. That’s the highest number since Aug. 12 and not far off the peak of 1,613 patients on Aug. 6.

Dr Michael Saag, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, spoke today about the challenges the country is facing. Saag, who had previously contracted COVID-19 and has since recovered, compared the present circumstance to a year-long tour of duty. He said taking precautions now, including avoiding crowds and people without masks, is vital heading into the holiday season.

“I want to be with my family, and I’m going to be with a few of them, seven to be precise,” Saag said. “And we’re going to be outside, distanced. And I’ve gotten comments from a lot of you, who’ve said, ‘How can you tell me what to do on my Thanksgiving, in my home?’ I’m really not telling you what to do. I’m simply saying that we know our current situation, and we know what works in terms of protecting ourselves. And, in my mind, since we’re on this tour of duty together I’d like to see us all make it to next Thanksgiving.”

The CDC has advised against travel this Thanksgiving.

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