Officials Warn Stay Vigilant This Holiday Weekend to Avoid COVID Spike
Labor Day weekend is upon us, and the Alabama Department of Public Health is concerned about another spike in COVID cases.
Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said this concern comes from the spike in virus cases associated with holidays… Memorial Day weekend, and most recently July 4th celebrations. That is the main factor Governor Ivey extended the mask mandate just last week.
“I wish we didn’t have to wear masks, but we are seeing significant drops in our hospitalizations and daily positive COVID-19 numbers,” Governor Ivey said in a press conference on August 29th.
As of Friday, September 4th, Alabama sits at a little more than 119,000 confirmed cases, nearly 15,000 hospitalizations and 2,200 deaths– this all since March when Alabama had it’s first confirmed case.
Dr. Karen Landers explained the state has seen a decline in case numbers the last 14 days… But also some flattening, “We have had more cases come back on colleges and university campuses and other entities being open. Our goal is to drive that number further down.”
And with Labor Day weekend upon us, she said it’s crucial we remain vigilant.
We went out to Windcreek Park the last holiday spike on July 4th, and the CDC guidelines of social distancing, gathering in small groups and wearing face coverings were not a priority. “We have to look at the Labor Day holiday as another opportunity for people to congregate together and perhaps reduce their preventive measures, which is not a good idea… Thus, potentially contributing to increase in cases of COVID-19,” Dr. Landers said.
In a press conference last week when Governor Ivey extended the mask mandate, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Labor Day weekend has the opportunity to cause a lot of spread if people aren’t careful, “It is really important for Alabamians to hang in there a little bit longer with us. We really need people to be careful about mixing with other households.”
“We must remain committed to defeat this virus until there is a vaccine,” Governor Ivey said.
Thursday, the CDC released a statement to governors about the possibility of a clinical trial vaccine to be ready by the end of October. Dr. Landers said she is aware of this, and Alabama’s health departments are preparing.
Flu season is also just weeks away, and Dr. Landers stressed we must remain vigilant in following the CDC’s COVID guidelines to preserve capacity for medical care.