Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft addresses increase in COVID-19 cases

By Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 8/4/21

Before the July 26 regular City Council meeting adjourned, Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft spoke to those in attendance and watching on Facebook Live regarding the increase in COVID-19 cases in the …

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Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft addresses increase in COVID-19 cases

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Before the July 26 regular City Council meeting adjourned, Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft spoke to those in attendance and watching on Facebook Live regarding the increase in COVID-19 cases in the area.

Craft became concerned after receiving a phone call from a couple who lives in Craft Farms. The couple had a friend that was seriously ill but could not get admission to South Baldwin Regional Medical Center because the hospital was full.

“I called South Baldwin to kind of get a report from them and their ICU is full. They have 32 COVID patients in-house right now and three waiting in emergency rooms for an empty room to go into. All of these are young, healthy, unvaccinated people,” Craft said.

After speaking with South Baldwin, Craft called Dr. Scott Harris who is the head of the Alabama Department of Public Health. The email Craft received said:

"Alabama has seen an increase in its daily case numbers from around 200 cases per day during May and June to over 1,000 cases per day during the past week. 

“Our total Covid-19 hospitalizations (from around the state) have increased from about 180 during the Independence Day weekend to over 900 today. This is less than the 3,000+ we saw back in January, but the RATE of the increase is even faster now than it was in January. 

“Alabama hospitals are reporting that well over 95% of hospitalized Covid-19 cases are people who are not vaccinated (or CANNOT be vaccinated: we currently have 22 pediatric inpatients, including one infant).

“Since vaccines became available at the first of this year, over 99% of all deaths in Alabama have occurred in unvaccinated people. Since April 1 (about the time that vaccines became widely available to everyone), almost 97% of our deaths have occurred in unvaccinated people. This means that an unvaccinated person who is infected with Covid-19 has about a 30-times higher risk of dying than a vaccinated person who happens to get Covid-19 (not to mention the fact that vaccinated persons usually do NOT get Covid-19 over 90% of the time they are exposed). 

“The three current vaccine products are safe and effective, and the risks of serious illness and death are much, much greater with Covid-19 infection than with any of the rare side effects that have been identified with the vaccines. 

“The Delta variant has likely now become the dominant variant in Alabama and can be as much as 10 times more easily transmitted than the original Covid-19 strain. All three of our current vaccine products are effective at preventing infection with the Delta variant and reducing serious illness or death in those who do become infected. Based on our current transmission estimates, each person who becomes infected with the Delta variant will, on average, spread the disease to three or four others," Harris said in the statement. 

The City of Gulf Shores keeps an updated list of area pharmacies, doctors’ offices and urgent care clinics where residents can go to get a COVID-19 vaccination on the city website. Craft also said that South Baldwin Regional is willing to come to Gulf Shores anytime the city has a group of five or more people ready to receive the vaccine. Craft encouraged residents to email covid19info@gulfshoresal.gov if they are interested in getting a vaccination.

“I fear we are close to having to go back to masks and restrictions on activities and who knows what else. This is a serious issue and it is serious because of unvaccinated people. I think all of us that have been vaccinated are concerned that we will be exposed to something that may cause additional problems in us. Everyone that is unvaccinated are part of our community too and they are now at risk. We are hopeful you will step up and see the opportunity and get a shot and protect yourself and others,” Craft said.

During the regular council meeting, the council:

* Approved the City’s Special Events Department’s Assembly Permit Application for the presentation of the 2021 Sunset Series in September.

* Approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute contracts for the 2022 Small Town, Big Beach Production’s - Winter Entertainment Series performances at the Erie H. Meyer Civic Center in an amount not to exceed $90,000. 

* Approved a resolution authorization for the mayor to execute a professional services contract with ETC Institute in an amount not to exceed $17,500 to conduct a Resident Satisfaction Survey.

* Approved an Intergovernmental Service Agreement between Baldwin County Commission and City to remit $200,000 to the Baldwin County Commission in exchange for the construction of a left-turn lane at the intersection of Stafford Boulevard and County Road 6 West (Aventura subdivision).

* Approved a resolution authorizing the mayor and council to update designated signatories on the Thomas B. Norton Library Advisory Board bank and investment accounts by removing former Treasurer Paula Tiepel and adding Morgen Szapiel, newly appointed Library Advisory Board Treasurer.

* Approved an ordinance annexing Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sullivan’s property located in River Pines Subdivision located off County Road 6 West.