“Dawn May Be Breaking Soon:” Health Officer Hopes for Decline of COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 dashboard 4.21.20. (Sources: Alabama Department of Public Health)

Monday was the day that medical forecasters had said the number of coronavirus cases in Alabama would peak.

Whether it did peak is still to be seen, but State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Tuesday, “dawn may be breaking soon.”

On March 12, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported no cases of coronavirus. The following day, the climb steadily began. The highest number reached was 392 new cases on April 8.

The state’s first death from COVID-19 was reported March 25 when a Jackson County Commission employee died from the virus.

For the past six days, the numbers have dropped below 200, all the way down to 151 on April 18, according to COVID-19 tracking data from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

On Tuesday, the department reported that Alabama has had a total of 5,100 reported cases and 167 deaths from COVID-19.

Harris said he’d need to see case counts trending downward for 14 days to determine that COVID-19 is waning in the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey agreed with him and added that the state needs much more testing for the virus to prevent another outbreak.

Fewer than 1% of Alabamians have been tested for COVID-19.

Harris said he would feel comfortable with testing when people can get a coronavirus test at their doctor’s office just like any other test.

Both officials said what is best for the state is continued sheltering in place, personal hygiene and social distancing.