Montgomery: The state on Monday reached a new high for the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19, a record that comes before an expected spike in cases in the weeks following Thanksgiving gatherings. Alabama Department of Public Health numbers indicated 1,717 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number reported since the coronavirus pandemic began. The previous high was a little over 1,600 in midsummer. “The spread is out of control. That is probably the least inflammatory way I can describe it,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association. “I try not to engage hyperbole, but I’m truly worried.” Williamson said the state is seeing more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units than in July, which previously had been considered the peak of the pandemic. “The problem is none of this is due to Thanksgiving,” he