The rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths is trending upward in Alabama, which is not good news as the state enters a period of relaxing restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Gov. Kay Ivey and state health officials took the first step toward opening up Alabama Thursday evening and now are considering whether to further relax restrictions before the current COVID-19 order expires May 15.
As of late Wednesday night, the figures posted by the Alabama Department of Public Health on its COVID-19 web page show that 8,691 people have tested positive, and 343 deaths have been attributed to the virus.
According to the weekly analysis of the ADPH data by BirminghamWatch, the seven-day moving average of daily new cases has taken a significant upturn, from 176.57 per day for the week ending Wednesday, April 30 to 252.29 for the week ending May 6. That’s a 42% hike in the moving average, which is a statistical method used to smooth out day-to-day variations in data sampling.
One of the criteria given by the White House “Opening Up America Again” guidelines for allowing more segments of the economy to get back to work is having a “(d)ownward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period.”
Alabama had lower numbers over the previous seven-day period, but the daily numbers started to ramp up Friday and topped out at 325 new cases on Tuesday. That’s the largest number since a spike occurred between April 8 and 12, with a high of 392 new positives on April 8.
Likewise, the number of new deaths reported each day have climbed at a faster rate, and the moving seven-day average hit a new high of 11.57 Wednesday. Twenty-eight deaths were recorded that same day, the highest daily number thus far in the pandemic.
The past week’s higher numbers aren’t attributable to Ivey’s new “Safer at Home” order, which took effect Thursday evening. Part of the week’s data came before the new order was in force, and significant changes in new positive cases and deaths take time after any sort of policy alterations.
In county-by-county numbers, Mobile County continues to have the most cases and deaths, with the margin increasing over Jefferson County.
Mobile County has tallied 1,311 positive cases versus Jefferson County’s 1,048, even though Jefferson has conducted almost twice as many tests; its 18,139 tests so far is more than quadruple the number reported seven days ago.
Mobile County has 76 COVID-19 deaths, compared to 53 in Jefferson. Lee County is third with 29, Tallapoosa fourth with 23 and Chambers County just behind with 22.
In metro Birmingham, Shelby County reports 16 deaths, Tuscaloosa four and St. Clair one. Walker, Bibb and Blount counties have had no deaths blamed on the virus.
Other than Jefferson and Mobile, the counties with 200 or more confirmed cases are: Lee, 410; Montgomery, 477; Marshall, 470, Shelby, 339; Chambers, 306; Tallapoosa, 304; Tuscaloosa, 248; and Madison, 238.
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