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Hospitals still seeing critical cases of COVID in patients, more kids getting infected

Hospitalizations may be down, but Nafziger said says hospitals are still seeing patients in critical condition with the virus.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A recent surge of the Delta COVID-19 variant left Alabama hospitals overflowing for weeks. 

While the surge isn't over yet, one UAB doctor says that it may have reached its peak.

"The number of new cases has gone down a little bit and the number of new hospitalizations has gone down," said UAB Vice President of Clinical Support Services Dr. Sarah Nafziger.

Hospitalizations may be down, but Nafziger said says hospitals are still seeing patients in critical condition with the virus.

"A lot of them are very critically ill and we've seen an increase in patients who are requiring that critical illness support," said Nafziger.

Although cases in adults are decreasing, more and more children are getting sick with the virus.

RELATED: Tennessee Valley schools COVID dashboards, information and masking policies

"Now when you look at the new case numbers, there's one area where we are seeing an increase in cases and that's in children," said Nafziger. "Well, that's no surprise, because we know that the children started back to school recently."

Nafziger says that while models suggest we are in the back-end of a surge, impacts on children are still unknown.

"What we don't know yet is the effect of all these pediatric new positives, and the question is are these children then going to be at home with their parents, with their other caregivers, around their grandparents and pass that infection along and is it going to lead to a second peak in Delta, and so, we just don't know yet," said Nafziger.

Nafziger says vaccinating and masking up can help keep us on the road to recovery.

RELATED: UAB: Vaccinated or not, masking is recommended in many cases

Madison County school returned to class on August 4, at that point in time, masks were optional.

The school system later decided to require masks after COVID quickly spread among students and staff. At the height of infection, there were 641 positive COVID cases among students and staff within the district. 

As of September 15, the district is down to 201 positive COVID cases.

"This is our third academic year managing through a pandemic and with that, we want to acknowledge and thank our parents for their continued support. Thank you for entrusting your most precious gifts to our care, as we partner with you and your children's educational journey," said Madison County Schools Director of Equity and Innovation Dr. Rachel Ballard.

RELATED: Alabama hospitals focus resources to COVID patients as hospitalizations soar