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ADPH offers warnings ahead of Thanksgiving

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country and in the state of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) held a press conference Monday morning issuing a warning to Alabamians ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Alabama is seeing its numbers go up, just like every state in the country right now,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “We are not headed in the right direction. We are adding a couple thousand cases a day, at least. There is an unchecked spread of COVD-19 throughout the country and throughout many parts of Alabama as well.”

According to Harris, 230,000 Alabamians have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, roughly four percent of the state’s population.

Harris added that hospitalizations have been steadily increasing in the state for the past six weeks, with the state’s hospitals seeing as many as 1,300 inpatients each day, the highest since July when hospitals were at capacity.

Harris also added that 1.5 percent of cases have resulted in deaths so far which, according to Harris, is fairly consistent with other states.

“That seems like a low number but that’s about 15 times the death rate that we see with influenza,” said Harris. “This is a time to be vigilant and to be careful about what you’re doing. Please take responsibility for your behavior so you don’t inadvertently infect someone that you are around.”

Harris warned Alabamians to keep gatherings small this Holiday, but urged anyone that does travel this Thanksgiving ton use the utmost caution.

“For those of you that are going to travel, please do everything that you can to keep you and your loved ones safe,” he said. “We don’t want this to be anyone’s last Thanksgiving, like your parents or your grandparents, especially when this disease is so preventable if we do what we’re supposed to do.”

Harris then discussed the latest developments in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Harris said he expected “good news” from the FDA as they evaluate the vaccine.

Upon initial approval, Harris said vaccines would be distributed to states and stored before final approval.

Harris said the vaccine would be a “limited resource at first” and that healthcare workers would first be prioritized in order to maintain the critical infrastructure of the healthcare system followed by those most at risk such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.