HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — On Wednesday, Huntsville City officials gave an update on the COVID-19 situation to residents of Madison County.

As of Wednesday, there was a 42.3% positivity rate in Madison County. Huntsville-Madison County EMA Director, Jeff Bridwell, says the seven-day average of daily increases in cases in Madison County is 834.57. Birdwell says that number is “second highest of the pandemic”.

As of Wednesday, 285 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Madison County. Of that, 45 people are being treated in the Intensive Care Unit and 27 are on ventilators.

Dr. Pam Hudson, CEO of Crestwood Medical Center & Dr. Roger Smalligan, Regional Dean of the UAB School of Medicine also gave updates. Both Dr. Hudson and Dr. Smalligan encouraged people to get vaccinated.

Dr. Hudson pointed to the risks associated with being unvaccinated, “An unvaccinated person has five times the risk of a positive test, and 14 times the risk of dying compared to a person who is vaccinated.”

When it comes to the definition of “fully vaccinated” Dr. Hudson says we need to look at the booster shot as part of that definition.

“It is very clear both from our local data and from the CDC’s data that the primary series is good to have, but the people who have been boosted have a very very low incidence of being hospitalized, in the ICU, on a ventilator, etc.,” said Dr. Hudson.

Dr. Roger Smalligan echoed that statement, saying he’s seen firsthand how unvaccinated people are more likely to end up hospitalized.

Dr. Smalligan said, “the vast majority of those who are getting really ill from COVID, in the hospital, they’re the ones who unfortunately did not get the vaccine, and many times they regret it”.

Dr. Smalligan also spoke on several prescription COVID-19 medications, saying that they are hard to find right now. He also reminded people that getting vaccinated is free, and the best defense against getting extremely sick from COVID-19.