The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in Alabama saw a major spike Monday, as the delta variant of the virus continues to spread quickly.
The report from the Alabama Department of Health’s online dashboard showed 1,883 hospitalized COVID patients, up by 432 over Sunday’s total. That’s an increase of 29.8% in just one day.
The total is the highest since Feb. 1, which was during the downward trend of the winter surge in the virus, just as vaccines were first distributed. The pandemic record of 3,084 inpatients was set on Jan. 11.
The new total is 11.3 times the low set on June 20 of 166 hospitalized COVID patients and 75% higher than one week ago.
New case numbers continue their sharp upward trends, as the total of positive tests since the pandemic’s beginning reached 589,110 Monday. That’s up 1,705 cases for the day, though it’s less than the daily totals for each of the past five days. The 7-day moving average now stands at 2,434.29, the highest that metric has reached since Feb. 2. The 14-day average, which smooths out spikes in the data’s highs and lows, topped the 2,000 mark for the first time since Feb. 9 and now is at 2,013.57 cases per day.
The death toll is starting to creep upward at a slightly higher rate, but it still is much lower on average than any time since records were first made public in March 2020. There were 57 deaths last week, an average of 7.57 per day over that period with a 14-day average of 6.64. Health officials still expect that figure to rise significantly over the next few weeks and regularly remind the public that deaths are a trailing indicator of pandemic trends — the numbers rise and fall anywhere from three to six weeks after those of new cases and hospitalizations.
There is some good news to report on the vaccination front. The ADPH reported that 68,477 vaccine doses were administered in the week ending July 27, the most recent data available. That’s up from 43,590 doses over the previous seven days, an increase of 57%. Alabama still ranks near the bottom of the list of states and territories in percentage of residents vaccinated, however.