Alabama’s COVID-19 New Case Averages Mixed, Death Reports Turning Upward

Data on the spread of COVID-19 in Alabama this week is showing a mixed bag, with the average number of cases higher than last week but lower than two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the average number of deaths has increased over the past week.

In BirminghamWatch’s weekly analysis of data reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the 7-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases for the period ending Wednesday is 706.14 per day, up by 83.28 from last week. It’s the first time in several weeks that the short-term average has risen.

The longer-term 14-day average, though, is at 664.50, down by 82 from last week.

The percentage increase in the number of new positives rose by an average of 0.56% per day over the past seven days, with the average staying close to that level for the past two weeks.

The total of positive cases statewide was 127,523 as of Wednesday, an increase of 4,943 cases over seven days. Another 13,564 cases were listed by ADPH as probable, for a total of 140,487 positives overall. The doubling rate of confirmed cases is now at 122 days, which means it will take about four months for the total to double again at this rate. The rate is 33 days worse than a week ago.

The 7-day average positivity rate now stands at 12.16%, down a little more than a full percentage point from last week. The 14-day average rate is at 10.5%. The positivity rate is the percentage of positive results from all tests given in a period. So, a drop in total testing will often raise the positivity rate. The “ideal rate” is considered to be 5% or lower. Alabama came close to that rate about three weeks ago, then it climbed again, due in part to a fall-off in the number of tests administered.

The state death toll now stands at 2,257, up by 96 over last week. With an additional 135 deaths listed as probable, the state’s overall total is 2,392. The 7-day moving average of new death reports jumped sharply to 13.71 per day, more than double the average from Sept. 9. That was caused in part by two days of larger-than-usual reports during the past week, which the ADPH said reflected a backlog of reported deaths being entered into the system.

The 14-day average is now 10.21 new deaths per day, down from an even 14 a week ago.

Jefferson County still leads the state with 17,746 cases, up by 863 from last week. Mobile County is second for total cases with 12,610, which is up by 246 cases. Montgomery County has 8,247 cases, up 262; Madison County has at 6,956, up 307; and Tuscaloosa County is the county with the fifth-most case, with 5,714. That’s up from 319 last week.

Jefferson County had 18 new confirmed deaths in the past two weeks and now has 323 fatalities attributed to COVID-19, again the highest county toll in Alabama. Mobile County has 282 deaths, up by 12 from last week; Montgomery County reports 166 deaths, up by 3; Tuscaloosa County totaled 98 deaths, up by 4; and Tallapoosa County has 82 deaths, a number that has been reduced by two from last week after investigation of previously reported deaths.

Confirmed hospitalized COVID-19 patient numbers fell again statewide. As of Tuesday, ADPH reported 722 patients, down by 56 from a week ago. The 7-day moving average of 781.43 patients is down by nearly 80 from last week. The 7-day average of new hospitalizations dropped to 59.57 as of Wednesday, down by almost 10 from last week.

Birmingham Watch computes moving averages based the data updated daily by the ADPH.