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Omicron COVID variant spreading in Alabama like “wildfire”

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Alabama's state health officer says the highly infectious omicron variant is spreading rapidly. The state is set record numbers for COVID-19 cases. Scott Harris says a large number of Alabamians will be infected in this wave. He urged people to get vaccinated and to have a booster shot. The Alabama Department of Public Health says Alabama set new records for daily cases with more than 8,000 a day on December 30th and 31st. The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back as positive hit a new high of close to forty percent.

The return to class to looking different for Alabama school kids, depending on where they attend class because of omicron. Students in Sylacauga will learn remotely for three days when the new semester begins today to avoid exposure. Pike County schools will meet in person but masks will be required through the end of the month. The changes come as Alabama hospitals treat more COVID-19 patients daily. The coronavirus death toll in the stands at over sixteen thousand. That’s the third highest in the nation. Alabama also stil ranks near the bottom for vaccinations at less than fifty percent.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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