As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the nation, Alabama’s numbers in new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and positivity rates are reaching new highs — and causing some states to suggest or mandate that people who visit Alabama undergo a quarantine upon return.
In BirminghamWatch’s weekly analysis of data reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the 7-day moving average of new cases for the period ending July 22 has jumped to 1,741.14 per day. That’s up by 55 cases per day. Earlier in the week, the 7-day average set a new record of 1,851. The longer-term 14-day moving average stands at a record high of 1,713.50.
The state has a total of 70,413 positive cases, a hike of 12,188 cases from seven days beforehand. The total is doubling about every 23 days, and Alabama remains on track to reach 100,000 positive cases on or about Aug. 3.
The COVID-19 death toll has reached 1,325, a gain of 143 over the previous week and seven fewer new deaths than the week prior. The 7-day average of deaths reported each day has actually declined slightly to 20.43. The 14-day moving average also climbed above 20 per day for the first time on Wednesday and now stands at 20.93, up by just below 25% over the week-ago level.
Jefferson County again leads the state in the number of positive cases with 9,275, increasing by 1,826 (24.5%) in the past week and an average 260.85 new cases per day, also the highest in Alabama.
Mobile County is second in the state for total cases with 6,443, an increase of 1,094 (20.5%) from last week; its 7-day average is 156.29. Montgomery County is third with 5,329, up 840 (12.6%) from the week before. Madison County has moved from sixth to fourth in total cases at 3,741, a rise of 840 (29%) new cases in the period, a sharply lower percentage rise than the previous week; its 7-day average is 120. Tuscaloosa County is fifth with 3,282 total cases, up by 445 for the period, almost the exact same amount as the previous week.
Jefferson County moved up to 190 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the state, with 14 new deaths in the past week. Mobile County has had 168 deaths with 11 last week, and Montgomery County reported 127, up by nine. Tallapoosa County is fourth on the list with 74 deaths, Tuscaloosa has now reported 57 deaths since the outbreak began.
Positivity Rate Hurts Alabamian’s Mobility
Some of the states that are pushing quarantines from Alabama and elsewhere are citing high positivity rates, or the percentage of tests that generate positive readings for the COVID-19 virus, as a criterion. A lower rate tends to indicate that a state is testing more residents, while a higher rate indicates testing many be reaching only the sickest or most at risk. The current 7-day moving average of the positivity rate stands at 17.95%, up from 16.29% the week before. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Alabama is fifth highest among all states. The World Health Organization considers 5% or lower to indicate testing levels are sufficient, and Hopkins’ data shows that 33 states surpass that recommendation, with Arizona the highest at 24.01%.
The average number of tests per day has climbed steadily in Alabama, with 9,697.57 tests conducted daily over a 7-day moving period. In total, 608,090 tests have been conducted since March 15, or slightly more than 12% of the entire population.
Some areas of the state have seen high levels of hospitalizations as well. As of Monday, ADPH reported 1,571 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals statewide, with a 7-day moving average of 1,440 patients. Both of those numbers are roughly double where they stood on July 1. The 7-day average of new hospitalizations stood at 165.71 as of Wednesday.
Birmingham Watch computes the moving averages based the data updated daily by the ADPH.