STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris discusses flu season, testing, coronavirus vaccine

The State Health Officer joined WAAY for a live interview Wednesday afternoon.

Posted: Sep 16, 2020 9:26 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2020 11:17 AM

Wednesday afternoon, WAAY 31 questioned Dr. Scott Harris, State Health Officer, about what’s next for coronavirus in North Alabama. In the live interview, his message was clear - coronavirus isn't going away anytime soon.

Harris said since there is no vaccine right now, social distancing, wearing a mask, and sanitizing are everyone's only defenses against the virus.

He said the Alabama Department of Public Health is working to prepare for winter and flu season.

"We're hopeful people will continue to remember this disease has not gone away. We still do not have a vaccine available. We do not have highly effective treatment available. The best protection we have is to prevent infection from occurring in the first place, and we do that by avoiding gathering with people who aren't in our household," Harris said.

He explained it could be about another week before knowing if there’s another spike in coronavirus hospitalizations from Labor Day weekend. The state reported spikes about three weeks after Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

Harris said the health department is on the phone every day with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They’re working to learn more about vaccines for the virus that could roll out in the coming months.

"There's up to six vaccines that may be pushed out all around the same time, so we're working out the logistics of how we might do that. We are working with many different partners in the state, provider groups, hospitals nursing homes and others to make sure those vaccines are available," he explained.

Harris told WAAY 31 those coronavirus vaccines will be prioritized and given first to the most vulnerable.

He also said the state ordered 15 times more flu vaccines than they have in the past and, everyone in Alabama should be able to get the vaccine for free, no matter where you live or if you have insurance.

"We're working with a number of different partners in every county to get those out to people. They're available to people at no charge. We want everybody to get a flu shot," he added.

Harris also told us they're seeing an increase in rapid antigen testing because it's faster and cheaper to perform those tests. He said because the rate of false negatives is greater, they’re considered probable cases, however, they are still counted in the total number of cases.

Huntsville
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 46°
Florence
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 50°
Fayetteville
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 47°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19938351
Mobile13507293
Montgomery8866185
Tuscaloosa8837118
Madison798179
Shelby607449
Lee597161
Baldwin560650
Marshall397543
Calhoun355644
Etowah354845
Morgan333428
Houston293921
Elmore271948
DeKalb244321
St. Clair235936
Walker235485
Talladega217830
Limestone214420
Cullman191920
Dallas179826
Franklin179130
Autauga178727
Russell17683
Lauderdale175133
Colbert167726
Blount162115
Escambia161624
Jackson159712
Chilton159530
Covington140727
Dale140344
Coffee13716
Pike121611
Chambers117542
Tallapoosa117185
Clarke110316
Marion97529
Butler91740
Barbour8867
Winston75013
Marengo72620
Pickens67014
Randolph66613
Lowndes65927
Bibb65810
Hale64928
Geneva6444
Lawrence63425
Cherokee61713
Bullock60714
Clay5918
Monroe5908
Washington56012
Crenshaw54332
Perry5426
Conecuh53911
Wilcox53211
Henry5105
Macon48318
Fayette4689
Sumter43719
Cleburne3945
Lamar3822
Choctaw35112
Greene30515
Coosa1743
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 194611

Reported Deaths: 2420
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby31097466
Davidson26797311
Hamilton963495
Knox960579
Rutherford945290
Williamson536636
Sumner489598
Wilson356247
Putnam336541
Montgomery313344
Unassigned30444
Madison299265
Out of TN297727
Bradley297217
Sevier266415
Blount256324
Maury242725
Washington235538
Robertson223939
Sullivan223133
Hamblen194828
Tipton184519
Gibson172624
Trousdale16697
Hardeman158426
Wayne15015
Dyer142017
Bedford137317
Dickson128015
Coffee127713
Fayette122719
Cumberland121919
Weakley121620
Anderson121013
Obion120211
Loudon11996
Henderson119125
Carter118028
Greene116946
McMinn116325
Jefferson114414
Lawrence108913
Warren10777
Macon106721
Monroe106618
Hardin105516
Lauderdale100316
Haywood99821
Franklin99410
Lake9252
McNairy92518
Carroll91320
Roane9126
Bledsoe8624
White85510
Rhea85413
Hawkins82720
Cheatham8199
Marshall7815
Overton7706
Cocke75310
Smith74011
Johnson7323
Chester65011
Giles64417
Lincoln6331
Henry6309
Hickman6008
DeKalb57414
Marion5518
Fentress5463
Crockett54419
Decatur5347
Campbell4614
Claiborne4455
Polk40710
Grainger3943
Union3762
Benton3418
Jackson3325
Morgan3213
Grundy3176
Cannon2950
Unicoi2911
Humphreys2673
Sequatchie2441
Clay2355
Houston2343
Meigs2323
Stewart2212
Scott2192
Lewis2081
Moore1831
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1262
Hancock1073

Community Events