East Alabama Health: COVID hospitalizations highest since September

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:08 AM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - COVID hospitalizations are the highest they have been in months, according to East Alabama Health.

The organization, on Tuesday, reported 38 COVID hospitalizations with three of the patients being ventilated. The last time numbers reached this level was September 30 - but 14 of the patients were ventilated then, according to John Atkinson, spokesman.

“The severity of illness does seem to be a little less with Omicron as indicated by the lower number of ventilators in use right now and only 6 of the 38 patients being in ICU,” Atkinson said.

Older patients seem to be impacted more.

“Of the 38 patients today, 23 are age 60 or older and 10 of them are vaccinated,” he said. “With that in mind, we’re encouraging eligible senior adults, and everyone else who is eligible, to receive a booster shot as soon as possible. And we would especially encourage senior adults who are unvaccinated to receive their initial doses immediately.”

East Alabama Health also reports the pediatric positivity rate is higher than the Delta variant. Last summer, positivity rates among young patients rose to 20.4% as volumes surpassed 1,300 visits a week at Opelika’s Pediatric Clinic. Between December 27 and January 2, 562 children were tested and 205 were positive for COVID-19, a positivity rate of 36.48%, according to officials.

Positivity rates among other age groups are also up. Alabama’s moving 7-day percentage of positivity in tests is 38.5%, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

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