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Alabama health caregivers still urging caution for holiday travel

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Alabama healthcare workers are still pushing the message of less holiday travel during a statewide spike in COVID-19 cases. The State’s Department of Public Health has a list of suggestions on coronavirus safety around Christmas. That includes checking to see how overwhelmed local hospitals are and to avoid family gatherings that include people you don’t live with. Dr. Richard Friend is Dean of the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences. He says Alabama’s current COVID spike began in October and involved specific events.

“High school football playoffs and other home football.," said Friend. "As well as the election, when people got out and voted and didn’t follow safety precautions.”

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington State is predicting that Alabama’s current holiday COVID case spike won’t get back to pre-holiday levels until maybe March of 2021. Dr. Friend says using face masks and social distancing is still a good way to avoid getting the coronavirus or spreading it others.

“If everybody follows precautions, I think we can begin to flatten the curve, but we can also limit the time that we see the surge both nationally and locally," he said. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health also suggests watching out for family members who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19. It’s also recommended that you check to see if your destination may also have state or local restrictions on travel due to the virus. The Alabama Hospital Association also reported that only around 7% of the state’s ICU beds were available because of the coronavirus caseload.

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