By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama continues to show progress on the COVID-19 front.
As of Saturday, 1,658 Alabamians were hospitalized with the virus, down more than 1,300 patients from the omicron peak of 2,961 on January 25.
Dr. Scott Harris, the state’s public health officer, said hospitalizations are a key indicator because they show how many are severely ill with the virus.
“That number really says it all, in a way,” Harris said. “We are very pleased to be able to report that the number of patients in Alabama hospitals is declining. It’s still a substantial number… but it’s less than two thirds of what it was a couple of weeks ago.”
Harris also stressed the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots as more variants of the virus could emerge.
“All viruses are going to mutate. All viruses are going to produce new variants. There is a sub-variant of the omicron variant known as BA-2 that’s showing up in many parts of the world. It’s even more infectious than omicron, if you can imagine, although not more dangerous or causing worse disease.
“We’ve gotten to the 2.3 million mark of Alabamians who are vaccinated. A lot of those people, though, are eligible for boosters… For people who are boosted, omicron virtually never puts those people in the hospital or causes death except for some people who are very, very old in some cases. For people who aren’t boosted, they are more susceptible to illness”
Harris’ interview starts at 47:30.