The numbers of new cases of COVID-19 infections are rising sharply across Alabama — and in Jefferson County in particular.
The BirminghamWatch weekly analysis of data reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health shows that the 7-day moving average of new cases reported daily is increasing at an alarming rate. As of Wednesday’s update by ADPH, the average has increased by 44% since the previous week and 64% over eight days.
That’s the number that has gotten the attention of health officials in Alabama and elsewhere, including the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Kansas, which are now requiring people who have traveled in Alabama and 13 other states to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The current 7-day average stood at 974 new daily cases on Wednesday, down slightly from the record high set the day before. That’s an increase of 381 new cases each day from June 23. And the jump from June 5 is even more pronounced — almost quadrupled, from 253.14.
The longer-term 14-day moving average, which to a greater degree smooths out spikes in data from backlogs and other irregularities, also reached a record high, at 823.43 cases per day. That’s a 20% hike from June 23 but nearly double the 440 average on June 1 and more than four times the reading on May 1, of 194.43.
Overall, the latest total of coronavirus cases was approaching the 40,000 milestone, and it likely would pass that mark Friday if the current trend continues.
The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 has stayed fairly level, with both the 7-day and 14-day moving averages staying close to 10 new deaths each day. The overall death toll stands at 947 as of Wednesday’s report. If the current trend continues, that total would break four digits early next week.
In the face of the accelerating rate of new cases, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that the current “Safer at Home” restrictions on public gatherings and business operations will remain in place until July 31 at 5 p.m. The newly amended order does not require the use of face masks in public statewide, but some mayors and county officials have made them mandatory.
Among those with mask ordinances is Jefferson County, which has experienced large increases in new cases. Jefferson County now leads the state with 4,387 total positive cases, passing Montgomery County.
In the past seven days, Jefferson County has reported 1,055 new COVID-19 cases, an average of 150.71 per day and an increase of 31.6% from the previous week. At this rate, the number of cases is doubling about every 15 days.
Montgomery County reports 3,839 cases, while Mobile County is now third in the state. with 3,697.
Jefferson County also has reported the most deaths attributed to COVID-19, with 142. Mobile County has had 134 deaths and Montgomery County has tallied 99.
BirminghamWatch computes the moving averages based on data updated each morning by the ADPH. The averages are for periods ending Wednesday, July 1.