Gadsden: The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alabama topped 2,800 this week, as recent days have shown a steady climb and new record high inpatient counts – 2,804 on Tuesday – as the surge in cases continues. Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, the University of Alabama’s Division of Infectious Diseases director, said Alabama now is third in the nation in COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita, behind Nevada and Arizona. She said Alabama is sixth in the nation in the number of COVID-19 cases per capita, after falling out of the top 10. On Christmas Eve, the number hospitalized was 2,458 across the state; on Christmas Day and on Saturday, it was 2,516, according to statistics published by BamaTracker. On Sunday, the number rose to 2,631; and it jumped significantly by Monday, to 2,802 people hospitalized. UAB Hospital and East Alabama Medical Center both reported record numbers of COVID-19 patients on Monday. EAMC spokesman John Atkinson said the facility had a high of 66 patients Monday, passing the record of 64 set just eight days earlier. In between, on Christmas Day, the hospital’s number of COVID-19 patients dropped to 47. “We believe that the total decreased at the time it did because people were doing all they could to avoid being hospitalized on Christmas Day,” Atkinson said. “It immediately began increasing the day after Christmas and will likely surpass 66 within the next two to three weeks as additional cases arise because of Christmas gatherings.”
Anchorage: Health officials are still determining who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine and when because the number of available doses remains limited. The Alaska Division of Public Health has administered about 11,800 doses as of Friday in the first phase of vaccination that began this month, the Anchorage Daily News reported Monday. The state had about 60,000 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available for this month, but it’s unknown how many vaccines are allotted for January, health officials said. The initial stage of vaccination included residents and staff at long-term care facilities, hospital-based health care workers, emergency personnel, community health aides and people who are performing vaccinations. The next tier of people in the first phase are expected to receive vaccines next month and include those who work in health care settings who are at the highest risk of exposure and also considered essential, officials said. They must have direct patient contact and provide essential services or work that cannot be postponed without negatively affecting patients. Tari O’Connor of the state health department said people in that category can start signing up for the vaccine Wednesday. The shots will be by appointment and be first come, first served. The state will then continue on to the next phase of vaccinations, but it has not yet decided who will fall into that category, officials said.
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