Nine of the 367 Alabamians hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday were children, according to the Alabama Hospital Association. At least one of those children was on a ventilator Friday.
Fewer than five of Alabama’s nine hospitalized children with COVID-19 were at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, hospital spokesman Adam Kelley told APR in a message on Friday. At least one of those children was on a ventilator, he said.
When there are less than five children, the hospital doesn’t disclose actual numbers due to federal privacy laws, Kelley said.
It was unclear how many of those nine children had contracted the more contagious delta variant, or whether those children had underlying medical conditions, but in Mississippi, health officials are sounding the alarm that the delta variant is exploding there.
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted Tuesday that there were seven children in intensive care with COVID-19, two of them on ventilators. The number of confirmed delta cases in Mississippi over the past three weeks has increased almost sevenfold, up from 29 to 231, Mississippi Today reported Tuesday.
In Europe, the delta variant is hitting youth hard, Fortune reported, with dramatic spikes of infections among those 12 to 29 in Spain.
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday announced that 47 of Alabama’s 67 counties are deemed “very high risk” due to increasing COVID-19 cases, up from 26 the week before.
The delta variant, which health experts say can be contracted after as little as five to 10 seconds of exposure, made up almost 71 percent of Alabama’s latest samples, a UAB lab manager told reporters on Tuesday.
“When individuals are infected with the delta variant, they are producing excessive amounts of virus,” lab manager Derek Moates said. “Way more than we’ve seen with any of the other variants.”
Alabama on Friday was tied with Mississippi in having the lowest percentages of fully vaccinated residents, at 33.6 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Moates warned that those high viral loads and Alabama’s low vaccination rate are creating a very dangerous situation. “And the only way to stop it from progressing is to get vaccinated,” Moates said.
Of Alabama’s 529 COVID-19 deaths since April 1, 96.2 percent were unvaccinated, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday increased the number of counties classified as “very high risk” due to increasing cases from 21 to 47. The number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama has risen 39 percent from June 26 to July 9.
ADPH also announced that the percent of COVID-19 tests that returned positive statewide has risen to 7.7 percent, which is the highest level seen since April 3, when vaccines were just beginning to become widely available.
Thursday’s 367 hospitalized COVID patients in Alabama was an 87 percent increase from a month ago, and a level not seen since May 12.
Growing daily cases and hospitalizations prompted ADPH on Thursday to return to updating the department’s COVID-19 dashboards daily, after weeks of doing so only intermittently throughout the week.