East Alabama Health reports COVID hospitalizations at all-time high

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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East Alabama Health set a new record for daily hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, according to a press release from the hospital.

The hospital had 96 hospitalizations on Sunday and Monday, a new high during the newly two-year-long pandemic. The number surpasses the previous high of 93 set on Sept. 4, 2021. One difference between then and now, however, is that ventilator usage was 23 on Sept. 4 — and as high as 26 on Sept. 9 — but stood at eight Monday morning with only one of the eight being vaccinated.

People ages 50 and older continue to be the population most in need of hospitalization. Of the 96 patients Monday morning, 75 were age 50 and above (78 percent). Ages 60 and above accounted for 61 percent of hospitalizations, while 39 percent of COVID patients were age 70 and above.

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Forty-two of the 96 patients were fully vaccinated while 54 were unvaccinated. Specific statistics regarding the number of fully vaccinated people who have received a booster is not available, but statewide estimates show it to only be around 20 percent. Immunity following the initial doses has been shown to wane after a few months. Experts say booster shot helps restore it to a higher level and prevents severe disease if a breakthrough case occurs.

Individuals can receive a booster shot five months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months after the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

EAH will be conducting COVID-19 drive-through testing this week for people who are symptomatic. Testing will take place Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Appointment scheduling begins one day in advance of each testing day, but some same-day testing appointments may be available. Appointments may be made by calling the EAH Call Center at (334) 528-4YOU (4968). 

This past weekend, EAH’s drive-through testing facility saw 335 patients with 154 testing positive for a 46 percent positivity rate.

The moving seven-day positivity rate for Alabama is 42.6 percent, while Lee County’s is 44.2 percent and Chambers County’s is 36.7 percent.