New COVID Case and Hospitalization Numbers Keep Dropping in Alabama

COVID-19 numbers in Alabama continue to improve for the fourth straight week as the number of new cases per day and the number of COVID patients occupying hospital beds have each dropped by more than half in roughly a month’s time.

In BirminghamWatch’s periodic analysis of the data provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health, Wednesday’s 7-day average of new cases has decreased to 1,573 per day. That’s a drop of more than 600 cases from a week ago and down 63.2% from the all-time high of 4,280.76 set exactly one month ago.

The longer-term 14-day average is down 53.3% over the same period, from 4,019.43 on Jan. 10 to 1,875.79 Wednesday.

Similarly, hospitalizations are down sharply over last month. ADPH reported that 1,401 COVID beds were occupied, down by 21.3% in the past seven days and 55.5% since the peak of 3,081 set on Jan. 5.

At UAB Hospital, 81 patients are hospitalized for active COVID infections, less than half the total from early January. Another 81 patients remain hospitalized fighting the effects of COVID, but they are no longer considered infectious. The Huntsville Hospital System on Wednesday reported 192 active COVID patients across all of its facilities in north Alabama and 99 in Madison County alone. The county total peaked around 270 in early January, according to Tracy Doughty, the system’s vice president of operations.

The rate of increase in the state’s pandemic death toll also is falling, though not as fast as other numbers. As of Wednesday, 8,888 deaths across the state have been attributed to COVID-19. Of those, 685 were reported in the past week, for a 7-day moving average of 97.86. Daily reports are somewhat inconsistent because of different schedules in reporting deaths and because ADPH reviews older reports to verify which should be counted as deaths caused by COVID and which were erroneously classified as COVID-caused. In the latter case, seven cases in Wednesday’s report were reclassified as not having been caused by the virus, with all but one falling in December.

Statewide positivity rates continue their steady decline, with the 7-day average moving to 12.09%, down by more than a third from 19.06% during the past week. The 14-day positivity rate average is 13.15%, down from 16.15% a week before.

In Jefferson County, 1,291 new cases were counted in the past week, with 34 additional deaths. The 14-day positivity rate stands just under 9.99%, which ranks seventh best of all 67 counties.

As of Monday, there had been 993,715 doses of COVID-19 vaccine delivered to Alabama, with 523,241 of them, or 58.1%, administered.

BirminghamWatch compiles its analyses based on data published by the ADPH, which gives updates daily on its COVID-19 home page.