'One of a Kind' 29-year-old Alabama Police Officer Dies of COVID As Hospitalizations Surge

An Alabama police department has said one of their officers will be "dearly missed" after he died of COVID aged 29.

Maurice "Reese" Jackson was a corrections officer at Robertsdale Police Department and started his career there in 2017.

On Tuesday, the department announced Jackson had passed away that day after battling COVID-related health complications.

The department said in a Facebook post: "Maurice was a good man; one of a kind and he will be dearly missed here at the department. Anyone that knew him knows he was full of life, always having a big smile on his face.

"Please keep his wife, children, family members and the Robertsdale Police Department family in your thoughts and prayers as we all try to navigate through this difficult loss."

As of early Wednesday morning dozens of people had commented on the post sending their condolences.

Health officials in Alabama have voiced concern as COVID hospitalizations in the state are nearing the peak of last summer.

In a statement posted July 27, when more than 900 COVID patients were hospitalized in the state, state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said: "The slope of the increase is unprecedented.

"This upward trend is extremely concerning, especially with the Delta variant being highly infectious and much more transmissible than earlier strains. Getting vaccinated is the best action you can take to protect yourself and those around you."

Alabama Department of Public Health data showed 1,694 COVID patients were hospitalized on August 3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed the state had 3,307 new COVID cases on Monday this week.

The rise of hospitalizations in Alabama comes as state officials around the U.S. are concerned about the spread of the Delta variant—a new form of COVID that is thought to spread more easily than other types. It is classed as a Variant of Concern by the CDC.

As of Wednesday morning EDT Alabama did not have a statewide mask mandate in place, though several school districts in the state have announced mask mandates for the rest of the school year.

Louisiana is one of the latest areas to implement a mask mandate while areas in California including Santa Barbara county and the Bay Area region have also reinstated mask rules in recent days.

On Monday the U.S. as a whole reported 78,806 new cases of COVID, while the seven-day moving average rose to 84,389 from 80,424 the day before.

Checking COVID sample
A stock photo shows health workers checking a COVID sample. COVID hospitalizations in the state of Alabama are on the rise. Tuachanwatthana/Getty