As some states have reported an increase in coronavirus cases, Alabama is also experiencing a surge, with 82% of its hospital beds state-wide reportedly filled, ABC 3340 reported.
“We are approaching a critical threshold for our capacity to care for patients with COVID and everything else we need to provide care for over the next several weeks,” Dr. Jeanne Marazzo of University of Alabama Birmingham told ABC.
Marazzo attributes the surge to waning efforts to wear masks and continue social distancing. (RELATED: Reported Coronavirus Hospitalizations Increase After Memorial Day, Health Officials Say)
Several southern states experienced a spike in coronavirus hospital patients since Memorial Day weekend, creating renewed concerns of the healthcare systems capacity to care for an influx of cases.
After months of restrictions, paired with rising temperatures, Americans may have loosened their adherence to strict social-distancing and hygiene guidelines.
“We are giving the virus more of an opportunity to jump from one person to another,” Marazzo said. “In Alabama, we had been running pretty much all along since all of this started- around 7 percent,” she said. “We are now for last seven days, up to 9 percent and we’ve been as high as ten percent so we are clearly increasing.”
The current increase in cases could mean that the full impact of hospitalizations and deaths in mid-July. Due to a rise of coronavirus cases in Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott paused his state’s reopening, which halts the reopening of bars and restaurants at full capacity while already-reopened businesses are not required to close.
Marazzo doesn’t think that Alabama can shut down again.
“Shutting down the way we did in March and April was like doing a sprint, right.” she said. “We are now in a marathon. This is not going to go away any time soon. SO, we’ve got to figure out ways to work through this that do not cripple us. “
Alabama has seen 32,753 total coronavirus cases and 880 deaths as of June 26, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health Division of Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks.