The Grapevine

Alabama Expert Reveals Spike In Coronavirus Cases After Reopening

The potential rise in COVID-19 cases in states was expected once measures to control the coronavirus were relaxed. And as far as Alabama is concerned, it appears the feared spike in cases is happening. More so, the added numbers are not a result of providing more COVID-19 testing that would single out previously unidentified cases. Hence, this could point to the spread being passed on due to exposure to other people who are unaware they are carriers of the dreaded strain.

According to Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, a specialist in infectious disease at UAB health, the average number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama has practically doubled since reopening started in the state. From 250 during the lockdown period, the numbers have doubled to almost 500 the past days, AL.com reported. As of this writing, hospitals still can handle cases. But at the rate that cases are increasing, a possible scenario would see them failing to accommodate all.

“We are not surprisingly seeing cases go up as we open," Dionne-Odom said. “There is clearly a relationship between reopening and the number of cases we are seeing right now.”

Stay-at-home orders were implemented on Apr. 14. However, most of the restrictions on local businesses and retailers were relaxed the following month. Adding to the possible rise of cases was the Memorial Day holiday. There was also the mass gatherings related to the untimely death of George Floyd that may have aggravated the matter.

With numbers doubling, the figures could get worse moving forward. Dionne-Odom and health experts are keeping track of the trends as well as hospital capacity as early as now. About 5,000 COVID-19 tests are being done in Alabama right now to determine who may need attention or isolation. With these efforts, Dionne-Odom believes the rising number of coronavirus cases is not tied to the alarming spikes.

Coronavirus COVID-19 New York, USA - Mask People line up outside Elmhurst Hospital to get tested due to coronavirus outbreak on March 24, 2020 in Queens, New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

She thinks that for as long as the new COVID-19 numbers are maintained or go down, businesses and schools can remain open. But if the increasing trend continues, hospitals could end up failing to aid people in need of health assistance. Closures could be done once more if the pandemic continues to threaten lives in the area.

For now, Dionne-Odom urges most to be vigilant and continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols. That includes wearing masks, practicing social distancing and proper hygiene such as the washing of hands. It is the best way to keep anyone protected, especially when outdoors.

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