State Health Officer: COVID running rampant throughout state
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Joseph King
Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris could not keep the emotion from his voice during last week’s COVID-19 update.
On Friday, Harris and the Alabama Department of Public Health held their weekly update, noting that every single one of the state’s ICU beds is currently in use.
“We had over 5,000 cases in Alabama reported to us Thursday alone,” Harris said. “Alabama’s percent positive rate is over 23%, among the highest in the country.”
Patients who need ICU treatment are instead getting critical care on gurneys in the hallways of hospitals throughout the state, Harris said.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the number of COVID infections has increased 700% among school-age children compared with 2020.
“Our hospitalization numbers continue to increase. We were at almost 2,900 hospitalizations (Thursday). Forty-five of those were pediatric cases. At least five of those children were on ventilators.”
Only 10% of Alabama’s teens are vaccinated against COVID-19. Children younger than 12 cannot yet be vaccinated.
The only way these numbers can come down is if more people are vaccinated, Harris said.
“You need to do what it takes to control this situation,” he said. “You know we’re seeing this because people don’t want to get vaccinated. They don’t want to change their behavior. They would rather have an argument about masks than have an argument about how do we keep our children safe.”
Harris said vaccine booster shots for COVID-19 should be available around Sept. 20.