Alabama hospitals ready for Omicron variant

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:23 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:34 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama hospitals are continuing to watch for a possible spread and even surge of Omicron variant cases.

A second case of the variant was discovered in Minnesota. Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said there is still a lot they don’t know about the Omicron variant, but there are concerns it could create additional stress on hospitals and healthcare workers going into the Christmas Holiday.

Hospital numbers had been declining but there has been a slight increase this week. Numbers went up from 300 to 335 on Thursday. Statewide, hospitals have been dealing with about 300 COVID patients a day for a while. Dr. Williamson said less than 50% of the state is fully vaccinated. ICUs are being pressed with other cases on top of influenza. The worry with Omicron is it may be highly transmissible, and vaccines could be less effective. The good news is hospitals have proven they can handle these surges, but the bad news is it will continue to be a strain on healthcare workers.

“Our healthcare workers are exhausted. We have been doing this since March 13th of 2020. Obviously, we were hearing about this this time two years ago out of China. It’s hard to sustain a two-year stress event and that is what we are dealing with now,” Williamson said.

Dr. Williamson added there still has not been any evidence of the Omicron variant in Alabama. There is concern we could see more cases of COVID due to Thanksgiving going into Christmas. Williamson said the best thing people can do is get vaccinated, get booster shots and wear masks in crowded public places.


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