Alabama’s New COVID Cases, Hospitalizations See Big Jump; CDC Updates Masking Recommendation

Coronavirus illustration. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

This updates the earlier story with growth in hospitalization rate, CDC recommendations.

Alabama saw its highest number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in almost six months on Tuesday, and hospital beds occupied by virus patients topped the 1,000 mark as the Delta variant continued to spread throughout the state and the nation.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported that the total number of cases since the pandemic began had reached 574,737, with an increase of 2,667 cases for the day. That’s the biggest daily hike since Feb. 4, when 2,767 new cases were reported as new cases were then on a downward trend after dangerously high numbers around the start of the new year.

The 7-day average of new daily cases now stands at 1,775.14, which is more than 14½ times the average’s low point three weeks ago on July 6 and the highest level that average has seen since Feb. 8. The longer term 14-day average is still behind the curve, but now stands at 1,394.43 new daily cases, the highest it’s been since Feb. 16. The 14-day average is now 8½ times where it stood on July 6.

The hospitalization numbers from the Alabama Incident Management System showed a one-day increase of 167 inpatients, or 18.2%, infected by COVID. There are now 1,083 beds with virus patients, the largest number since Feb. 17. The hospitalization total has seen a sixfold increase since a low of 166 patients on June 20.

Nine deaths were reported Tuesday by ADPH, keeping the 7-day and 14-day averages about where they have been for the past month. The 7-day average is currently 4.57 deaths per day, and the 14-day average is at 6.43.

On Monday, officials at UAB Hospital said that the last two batches of tests for the Delta variant that their labs had processed showed the stronger strain present in 100% of the specimens. Delta has now become the dominant strain across the United States.

Also the Centers for Disease Control announced a revision in its recommendations on masking for people who have received the full vaccine regimen. The agency said those who live in high-transmission locations should wear masks in indooor public spaces, The Washington Post reported. The newspaper said CDC recommended masking for teachers, staff members and students in schools, regardless of their immuization status.

The change switches the agency’s previous stand that those who had taken the full regimen could go without masks in both indoor and outdoor venues.