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89% of COVID patients at Huntsville Hospital are unvaccinated

Huntsville Hospital CEO Jeff Samz encourages more people to get vaccinated as COVID-19 numbers in Alabama increase.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The number of COVID patients in the Huntsville Hospital has doubled since the previous month.

That's according to Huntsville Hospital CEO Jeff Samz on Sept. 1, 2021.

Samz says the hospital is treating patients of all ages. He said the youngest COVID patient in the hospital is just 1-year-old and the oldest is 94-years-old.

"Together there's 57 of those in the ICU, and 34 are on the ventilator. Those numbers have approximately doubled in the past month," said Samz.

Between Crestwood and Huntsville hospitals, they've seen 15 COVID-related deaths in two days. Samz is continuing to urge Alabamians to get the COVID vaccine.

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"89% of our inpatients are unvaccinated, and it's a similar statistic for Crestwood," said Samz.

North Alabama leaders have expressed their frustration at the state's low vaccination rate and hesitancy to get tested for the virus. One Huntsville resident said she understands this frustration.

"I mean, people are walking around sick, I mean they know they're sick but they still go out," said community member Louanne Wright.

Samz also said the Huntsville Hospital System is facing a nursing shortage of almost 500 nurses. Many nurses have had to switch departments to take care of the number of COVID patients.

"We make it work, but it's incredibly stressful. Think of when you're asking somebody to give up the job they normally signed up to do something else," said Samz. "You know, people are willing to do that period of time... it's been a year in a half."

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Huntsville City Schools Spokesperson Craig Williams was also in attendance at the briefing. He says the district does not currently plan to transition to remote learning. He said there are 249 active COVID cases across the district as of September 1.

"And again, we are very pleased to be holding steady in a district of more than 24,000 students and over 40 campuses," said Williams.

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