Alabama doctors say we shouldn't relax with coronavirus precautions just yet

The state is seeing an increase in positive coronavirus cases and a slight, but unusual uptick in influenza-like symptoms in people.

Posted: Apr 30, 2021 10:03 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2021 11:44 PM

It's now been 3 weeks since Alabama's statewide mask mandate expired.

The state health department is still​ seeing an increase in positive coronavirus cases and people sick with flu-like symptoms.

We spoke with two doctors in the state and they both say the governor ended the mask mandate knowing that Alabamians would be smart and still social distance and wear masks when required.

But the relaxation and the amount of folks getting vaccinated are causing a slight issue right now.

"I think people are tired of COVID. We're all tired of COVID. But we're not where we need to be in terms of the number of persons vaccinated in the state of Alabama in order to relax our mitigation standards," said Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Landers said the vaccination effort in people 65 and older is above 66%. That number drastically drops for people between the ages of 16 to 54, at only 25%.

She said this number shows a bigger push is needed for the largest age group to continue getting vaccinated and said this is one reason we're seeing an increase in cases.

"Only 1 in 5 are fully protected with that vaccine and as you see, relaxations in public health measures like masking and you see more individuals gathering indoors without their masks. It may make sense with seeing community transmission here in our state," said Dr. Ellen Eaton.

Eaton is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and she says we're currently seeing about 6% increase in positive cases.

Another reason for the increase is because after the CDC announced fully​​ vaccinated people don't need to wear a mask unless in small groups outside​, most people ignored it.

Eaton said when the statewide mask mandate ended, people just didn't pay attention at all.

"If people prematurely apply those guidelines to themselves, and they're not vaccinated, we could potentially worsen things and see some increases in spread in our community," said Eaton.

Both Landers and Eaton say with summer right around the corner, getting your flu shot and COVID vaccine, and making sure to be proactive​​ instead of reactive is key when it comes to this deadly virus.

Even though you may think you have beat COVID, doctors say there are still lasting effects.

"There are a number of people that still have symptoms of COVID long after they have resolved their acute illness. So the be it protection is really is to prevent yourself from getting COVID," said Landers.

The way to do that is by getting vaccinated and making sure to closely​ pay attention to the CDC guidelines.

Landers knows there's a lot and sometimes, they may be confusing, but to make it as simple as possible. Still wear your mask while in close proximity to others, get vaccinated and don’t let your guard down, she said.

Eaton also told WAAY 31 the state is seeing an unusual increase of influenza-like symptoms in patients over the last few weeks. She says it's not normal because we should only see flu and cold-like cases during the winter months, which could indicate we may see early cases of COVID.

"It is unlikely for us to have had historical low flu activity over the last winter months and now see an uptick. So, what the concern is from public health experts is that these increasing cases of flu-like activity may actually be new coronavirus cases again because only 1 in 5 Alabamians are fully vaccinated," she said.

Right now, Eaton says she's unsure if we'll have a major surge in cases over the summer, but it all depends on if we stay on top of masking and everyone getting vaccinated if they're eligible to do so.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 529446

Reported Deaths: 10930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763031516
Mobile40850804
Madison34622501
Tuscaloosa25701451
Montgomery24289585
Shelby23367247
Baldwin21035307
Lee15822169
Calhoun14469313
Morgan14266279
Etowah13806352
Marshall12185222
Houston10533280
Elmore10029205
Limestone9948150
Cullman9640193
St. Clair9589239
Lauderdale9407239
DeKalb8814185
Talladega8199175
Walker7214277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6801111
Blount6635136
Colbert6288134
Coffee5498117
Dale4820111
Russell438438
Chilton4258111
Franklin424782
Covington4111117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia393076
Chambers3555123
Dallas3543151
Clarke350661
Marion3105100
Pike310177
Lawrence299798
Winston273672
Bibb260463
Marengo249064
Geneva247676
Pickens233659
Barbour230756
Hale222276
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184145
Randolph179241
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158850
Clay155156
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148341
Lamar141534
Lowndes138553
Wilcox126729
Bullock122941
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa106928
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 850885

Reported Deaths: 12228
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby953751618
Davidson89250932
Knox50562634
Hamilton44186492
Rutherford42989434
Williamson27959217
Sumner23951348
Montgomery20166225
Wilson18764233
Out of TN1836297
Unassigned16967134
Sullivan16720294
Blount15468193
Bradley14995149
Washington14554245
Maury13471171
Sevier13360175
Putnam11357174
Madison11151241
Robertson9745131
Anderson8751172
Hamblen8596173
Greene7844155
Tipton7328100
Coffee6894121
Dickson6831110
Cumberland6711129
Carter6603156
Gibson6520145
Bedford6503128
McMinn649998
Roane6272105
Jefferson6186124
Loudon611469
Hawkins6011107
Lawrence590886
Monroe582395
Warren554481
Dyer5417106
Franklin514090
Fayette504075
Cheatham454655
Obion453696
Cocke449199
Lincoln434663
Rhea434175
Marshall418258
Campbell415263
Weakley410864
Giles3995100
Henderson378476
White362669
Macon361778
Carroll361583
Hardin356867
Hardeman351364
Claiborne317873
Lauderdale317744
Henry317676
Marion312547
Scott311745
Overton300661
Wayne295834
Hickman283546
McNairy281154
DeKalb279454
Smith277339
Haywood270662
Grainger262150
Trousdale249922
Morgan249339
Fentress241047
Johnson239139
Chester214051
Bledsoe213211
Polk206624
Crockett203248
Unicoi202549
Cannon191831
Union190634
Grundy179034
Humphreys178926
Lake170226
Sequatchie169529
Benton165740
Decatur158539
Lewis158126
Meigs138825
Stewart132328
Jackson131935
Clay110131
Houston109333
Perry106328
Moore101017
Van Buren84623
Pickett75924
Hancock58812

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