Category: Coronavirus

COVID Numbers in Alabama Staying Stable as Mandates Go Away

As COVID vaccinations continue and the state has eliminated almost all restrictions originally imposed in the wake of increasing infections and deaths, Alabama’s numbers have declined into a narrow range.

In BirminghamWatch’s periodic analysis of COVID data, the 7-day moving average of new cases reported by the Alabama

Department of Public Health is down to 310.86 per day. That average compares to 337.57 cases per day a week prior, a decrease of 8.5%. The longer-term 14-day average is now at 324.21 new cases per day, down from 362.79 seven days beforehand, a fall of 11.8%.

Both averages have stayed well below 400 since the end of March, and the 7-day average has drifted below the 14-day mark, which typically indicates a continuing downward trend, though it’s a very slow downtrend in this case. Read more.

As Demand Drops, Health Officials Look for Ways to Encourage Vaccinations

UPDATED — The decline of COVID-19 vaccinations being administered in many states has caused alarm among medical professionals.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, on April 8, Alabama reached its peak of doses given, at 44,165. That number as of May 10 had dropped to 10,405. The significant drop now has state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focusing on how to encourage the next wave of individuals set to get the vaccine.

Dr. David Hicks, the deputy health officer for the Jefferson County Department of Health, said the lower numbers are a sign the state has gotten most of the high-risk individuals vaccinated, and now it is shifting focus to persuade younger and more reluctant populations to get the shots.

“I think that initially we had a high demand with limited supply, and I believe the people who were demanding the vaccine were the people who were at a higher risk and those who were really eager to get vaccinated,” he said.

“I think we’ve done a really great job at this point of vaccinating all those people and we’ve now shifted to trying to target people who haven’t strongly considered getting vaccinated … now it’s the harder part of the population to engage with.”

Now that the first wave of individuals is fully vaccinated, the next obstacle lies in getting skeptics and those apathetic to the vaccine to want the shots. Read more.

310 New COVID-19 Cases, Seven Deaths in Tuesday Report

Alabama recorded 310 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths from the disease in Tuesday’s update by the state Department of Public Health.

There have been 531,404 cases of the coronavirus through the course of the pandemic. The number of deaths rose to 10,985 in Tuesday’s daily report.

Alabama hospitals have reported 49,362 COVID-19 inpatients since the pandemic began in March 2020. There were 362 patients from the coronavirus on Sunday.
Read more.

Governor Shuts Down Extra Help for the Unemployed, Says Workers Needed to Invigorate the Economy

Citing an increasing difficulty of business owners and employers to find workers to fill jobs, Gov. Kay Ivey today announced that Alabama will stop participating in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs effective June 19.

“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey said in a press statement.

Ivey said increased unemployment assistance was meant to be short-term help for people who couldn’t work during shutdowns related to the pandemic. But now, she believes the assistance is contributing to a labor shortage she said “is compromising the continuation of our economic recovery.” Read more.

Legislation to Untax Rescue Plan Relief May Have to Wait

Legislation is needed to ensure Alabama families and restaurant owners aren’t penalized on their state income taxes for credits and grants they receive under the federal American Rescue Plan Act. But with one day left in this year’s regular legislative session, a proposed bill on the matter isn’t likely to pass. That means it probably will have to wait until later in the year.

The $1.9 trillion federal rescue plan’s enhanced child tax credit, earned income tax credit and child and dependent care tax credit will be worth about $1.7 billion to Alabama taxpayers, and payments will begin this summer, Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, said. Additionally, Alabama restaurants are expected to receive about $426 million in grants.

If lawmakers don’t act, Alabamians could be taxed more than $100 million in state income taxes, he said. Read more.

Alabama Adds 314 New Cases of COVID-19, 20 Deaths

Alabama added 314 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths from the disease in Friday’s daily updated by the state Department of Public Health.

There have been 530,325 cases of the coronavirus in the state since the pandemic began in March 2020. The state averaged 343 new cases a day over the past week, compared to averages of 349 last Friday and 295 a day one month ago.

ADPH has recocrded 10,966 deaths from the coronavirus.
Read more.

Percentage of Positive Tests for COVID-19 Continues to Decline in Alabama

The average percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Alabama declined this week to its lowest level in a year.

The daily average rate of positivity dropped Wednesday to 5.67% and stood at 5.79% on Thursday, the Bama Tracker website reported. That was the lowest percentage since an average of 5.32% was reported on March 5, 2020. The 7-day average reached a high of 37.98% on Jan. 5. Health officials generally regard a rate of 5% or lower to be acceptable.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 436 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, plus another 129 cases that were reported on a delayed basis from previous days. The state has averaged 338 cases a day over the past week.
Read more.

Harris: Herd Immunity Possible by Mid-Summer if Vaccine Rate Increases

MONTGOMERY —  Alabama could reach herd immunity from COVID-19 by mid-summer, the state’s top doctor told lawmakers on Wednesday. But it could take longer if the vaccination rate continues to decrease.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said around 70% of the state, or 3.5 million Alabamians, will need to either be fully vaccinated or have antibodies from previous infections in order for the state to reach a level of immunity that will stop significant spread of the disease.

“If we reach herd immunity, what we’ll see is a dramatic decrease in cases, but it’s unlikely that it will ever completely disappear,” Harris said.

The daily number of vaccinations has been steadily decreasing since the beginning of April, which Harris said could be attributed to several factors, chief among them being vaccine hesitancy. He said that has been evident in the African-American community as will as in white communities, especially in rural areas.
Read more.