The number of Alabama patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 has continued to rise in the past seven days, as has the count of people testing positive each day.
In BirminghamWatch’s weekly analysis of data reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health, hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients surpassed 1,000 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the 7-day moving average is just under the thousand mark. Tuesday’s report of 1,047 hospitalizations was a jump of 80 over the day before and reached a level not seen since Aug. 27. However, it’s still lower by more than 35% than the high of 1,613 hospitalized patients set Aug. 6.
The rising trend matches those of states neighboring Alabama. Tennessee has 1,537 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds as of Wednesday, a new record for the state. Georgia’s hospitalizations also are trending upward and stand at 1,424, though that’s nowhere near peaks of more than 3,000 in July. Mississippi has 584 confirmed cases in hospitals, plus another 105 suspected cases; both those numbers have inched higher over a month’s time. And Florida’s count reached 2,486 on Tuesday, a number that has increased more than 20% over the prior 30 days.
Alabama’s new daily positive cases have steadily risen over the past two weeks, with the 7-day moving averages of all new cases reaching 1,305 and the 14-day average now at 1,244.29. These averages take into account “data dumps” of older cases that previously had been unreported to ADPH by testing providers and processors.
The adjusted 7-day new-case averages have increased by 48% since Oct. 10, which represented the lowest level in the previous month. The adjusted 14-day average has not risen as sharply but is still up by 36% over the Oct. 9 level, which also was the lowest of the month before.
The rising trend in new positives also has been observed by neighboring states to varying degrees.
Positivity rates — the percentage of test results that return a positive result over a period — has spiked to its highest level since summer. The 14-day rate has reached 22.61%, although more tests also were conducted. The 7-day average was 15.08%. Both numbers are well above the benchmark of 5% or less set by health professionals.
The COVID-19 Alabama death toll passed another milestone Wednesday, as the total surpassed 3,000 for the first time. ADPH reports the state has had 3,006 deaths since the pandemic began in March, of which 2,799 are confirmed and 207 listed as probable. A surge in the number of fatalities in the past seven days has pushed the 7-day moving average to 13.57 deaths per day, up from just less than nine on Oct. 26. But thanks to a relatively low number of deaths two weeks back, the 14-day average is in a decline, with 9.66 deaths per day over the period.
Jefferson County reported 1,204 new positive cases in the previous seven days and now has 24,973 cases total since the pandemic began. Seven additional COVID-attributed deaths — the same increase as the week before — pushed the county’s death toll to 390.