Alabama hits over 1 million COVID-19 cases since beginning of pandemic

Coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health has recorded over 1 million COVID-19 cases across the state since the virus was first detected in Montgomery nearly two years ago.

On Wednesday, the department reported that there had been approximately 1,004,622 COVID-19 cases recorded since March 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was identified in Montgomery. Since then, all 67 counties across Alabama have been affected by the virus.

“I can safely say that a million cases was never in my event or horizon on this almost two years ago,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.

Currently, there is a 41.1% positivity rate statewide for those testing positive for COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, there have been reports of some people being infected with COVID-19 several times.

“We don’t want to be remembered for the state that has the highest positivity rate for COVID testing. And right now, we are,” Physician Dr. Celeste Reese Willis said.

“We need people to understand that you yourself, if you’re hearing these words, you’re the person who can make a difference,” Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said during a press briefing last August. “You need to be responsible for your behavior. You need to do what it takes to not continue this situation. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to do this.” 

While there have been peaks and valleys over the last two years since the pandemic first began, cases have been at all-time highs over the last few weeks. In Alabama, as well as across the country and many parts of the world, the more-contagious Omicron variant of the virus has taken a toll on health care workers and communities and has also infected people who previously been vaccinated against past viral strains.

“This omicron variant is incredibly infectious,” Harris said during a recent press conference. “It’s very, very easy to spread even more so than any variants we’ve seen before.”

Throughout the pandemic, Jefferson County has led the state with the most cases reported. As of Wednesday, there were 145,464 confirmed cases. Mobile County has had the second-highest number with 90,684 while and Madison County has reported 66,148 cases. Choctaw County has reported the lowest number of COVID-19 cases statewide with 1,245 cases.

As hospitals continue to see an influx of patients, medications like Paxlovid and Sotrovimab anti bodies are in short supply. Dr. Michael Saag with UAB says there isn’t enough of those medications to get through this current spike.

“Sotrovimab is one of the monoclonal anti-bodies and it’s the one proven to be effective. The problem is, sotrovimab is in such short supply,” Dr. Williamson said.

With that in mind, Dr. Saag says more and more people need to get vaccinated and boosted against the virus in order to mitigate any further spread.

“We also have the vaccines. And, they’re safe and they’re ridiculously effective. Really effective,” Dr. Saag said.

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