Local and state health officials are continuing their push for coronavirus vaccinations, as the number of deaths in the state climbs.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said 26 people died in Alabama from coronavirus on Thursday. The majority of those people were unvaccinated.
Thousands of vaccines are now going to waste but are still readily available. As the Delta Variant continues to spread, he's urging people to get vaccinated.
Harris said even if you get vaccinated today, you won't be protected against the virus for another five to six weeks.
Protection against the Delta Variant increases when you're vaccinated, Harris said, citing breakthrough infections at only 2%.
"We have really high levels of disease transmission going on in every single part of the state right now," said Harris. "Our recommendation for universal masking is going to stand."
Harris made it clear that the state isn't going to order a mask mandate, but it's health officials' recommendation to wear a mask when indoors.
80% of coronavirus cases in Alabama are the Delta Varient, consistent with the percentage of delta cases the nation is seeing.
Harris said only .002% of vaccinated people have died from the virus. The state is now seeing about 3,000 cases per day.
On a local level, Madison County has 122 coronavirus-positive cases, last month just 18 positive cases. 29 people are currently on ventilators versus last month, just one person. Fourteen people are in the ICU, last month, just two.
Those numbers alone showing the spike in cases.
Huntsville Hospital's staff is tirelessly working to keep COVID-19 positive patients alive.
Tracy Doughty, President of Huntsville Hospital, said they're converting normal units, both medical and surgical, back to COVID units. ICU beds are also filling up.
"There are still people that don't want to wear masks or get their vaccines," said Doughty. "It's really impacting the lives of our nurses, techs, pharmacists, doctors, all the people who take care of those patients."
90% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
Doughty said not too long ago staff members thought they were at the tail end of COVID. Now, working extra hours and days to treat more COVID patients.
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