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(WHNT) — Alabama hospitals have seen an uptick in hospitalizations for COVID-19 as the state struggles to deal with a lack of vaccinations and the more contagious Delta variant.

According to The Associated Press (AP), the number of patients in Alabama hospitals has reached 916 as of Monday, July 26, compared to 204 at the beginning of the month. At the peak of the pandemic in January, there were 3,000 patients hospitalized with the virus.

Dr. Scott Harris, the state’s health officer, told AP the surge in cases can be attributed to the spread of the Delta variant.

According to figures posted to social media by Huntsville Hospital, their system had 74 patients currently positive for COVID-19. Five of those patients were reported to be on a ventilator with 12 were in intensive care.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) stated earlier this month that 96.2 percent of deaths from the virus in the past three-and-a-half months were people who had not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

“COVID-19 vaccines are our best defense in preventing serious disease as well as deaths, and this is especially important as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads,” Harris said. “While it is possible to get any strain of the virus, infected people are much less likely experience complications or hospitalizations if fully vaccinated.”

ADPH’s COVID-19 dashboard shows more than 14,000 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Alabama in the last two weeks. 11,483 Alabamians have died as a result of the virus since March 2020.