The number of positive coronavirus cases in the state of Alabama is rising at an alarming rate as we continue to go through the holiday season.
Now, Madison County leaders are urging you to be vigilant for the Christmas holiday to keep more people from getting sick.
"Twelve percent of the people admitted to a hospital, they'll die. Then, you look at the other number of 50% of those that are placed on a ventilator. The math is there. The numbers have proven that they will not make it," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong during the area's coronavirus update on Wednesday.
Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers wants people to enjoy their holiday, but to stay out of the hospital and to not be sick with coronavirus. He explained folks did not listen to the messages to not gather in large groups for Thanksgiving and because of that, we're seeing record numbers of people in the hospital.
We are 23 days away from Christmas and Spillers says they really need people to not gather in their homes with large groups of family members and friends.
In Huntsville Hospital right now, there's more than 300 patients in their coronavirus unit.
And if people don't follow the social distancing and health guidelines outlined in the Safer at Home order for Alabama, that number could increase significantly. Spillers now has this message for everyone.
"I want to stress one thing, and I almost hate to say this statement because I've tried to be positive throughout this entire process, but I think for the next couple of months, until we get this under control, you just need to assume that no place is safe and there's no one that's safe. You don't know," he said.
Spillers says we could expect another surge in cases later this month through possibly February if people don't adhere to the guidelines.
And with the holidays, more people are getting tested.
Spillers says at the hopsital's flu and fever clinic, they're seeing nearly 250 patients every day. He said most people are trying to get tested before being with family, and others are seeing symptoms after being around family.
Now, the testing demand will probably stay high through the next couple of months.
Local leaders also discussed coronavirus vaccines on Wednesday and what will happen when they're available.
When they become available, North Alabama likely won't get as many doses as Spillers thinks we need. He told us he initially wanted to get enough vaccine to treat entire hospitals, then nursing homes, and then, the rest of the community.
But he says the amount we get may be far less than what they can work with to move as fast as leaders would like.
"If you asked me how many doses I would have liked round one, probably 30,000...Enough to vaccinate virtually everybody in our hospitals and start getting it out at our clinics. A realistic number probably would have been half that. We'll probably get far less than that. I do not know what that number will be right now," he said.
Spillers said the hospital will get more vaccines on a daily basis but will only be able to treat a certain number of people every day.
Some of the coronavirus vaccines may require two doses, and local health leaders say if you get one of those vaccines, you'll be sent home with a reminder card and they will most likely call you to make sure you set up your next appointment.
Now, local leaders are urging us all to be vigilant to keep more people from getting sick as we celebrate December's holidays.