Tuscaloosa COVID-19 Inpatients At Highest Point Since Nov.4

·2 min read

TUSCALOOSA, AL — As fears persist of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, DCH Health System on Monday reported its highest number of COVID-19 inpatients since Nov. 4. The news comes as public health experts worry over the transmissibility of the emerging strain, in tandem with the expected large indoor gatherings over the holidays.

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On Monday, DCH reported a total of 21 total hospitalizations of patients testing positive for the virus, with five or less receiving care in its intensive care units. While the current numbers do mark a drastic departure from the brutality seen at this time last year, they come despite higher vaccination numbers nationwide.

DCH Health System Vice President of Marketing and Communication Andy North told Patch on Monday that hospital officials had received reports that the Omicron variant appears to spread faster, but has been less severe in terms of symptoms.

"Our internal testing equipment cannot yet specifically test for the Omicron variant but it can detect a COVID infection caused by Omicron, " he said. "While we are currently unable to determine the specific variant, we have recently been seeing fewer patients with severe COVID cases requiring ICU care."

Despite the manageable patient levels, North was quick to stress that the situation could change at any moment, as DCH continues to see high percentages of unvaccinated patients requiring hospitalization.

"Today, for example, 95.2 percent of our COVID-19 positive inpatients are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated," he said. "We continue to encourage community members to receive the vaccine."

According to the latest data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, 86,935 Tuscaloosa County residents have completed their vaccination series, while 102,545 have received at least one dose.

What's more, just short of 20,000 COVID-19 vaccine boosters have been administered in Tuscaloosa County.

To date, DCH reports 777 total COVID-19 inpatients have died at the Tuscaloosa hospital, with 315 being Tuscaloosa County residents.

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This article originally appeared on the Tuscaloosa Patch

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