Alabama has reached another milestone in the COVID-19 outbreak, as the total of infections to date is now more than 700,000.
In BirminghamWatch’s periodic analysis of statewide pandemic data, the latest milestone was reached Wednesday when 4,691 new cases were reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health. It has been just 27 days since the cumulative total passed the 600,000 mark, due primarily to the continuing march of the Delta variant throughout the nation.
In Jefferson County, total cases also crossed a major threshold in the past week. On Friday, the cumulative county total passed 100,000 since the outbreak began, and it stood at 101,613 on Wednesday. The 7-day moving average of new daily cases in the county has increased to 709, just short of the all-time high of 752 just before last Christmas.
The speed at which the virus continues to spread in Alabama is indicated by the rise in the statewide 7-day and 14-day averages. The statewide 7-day average set a record on Wednesday with a reading of 5,538, setting a new high for the second straight day. The average is now more than 45 times where it stood on July 6, when it posted a low of 121 for the year.
The 14-day average, which tends to smooth out spikes in the daily data (and adjusts better for situations such as when ADPF reported no numbers for two days last week because of computer issues), now stands at 4,183. That’s down slightly from an all-time record of 4,294 set on Saturday and is now more than 25 times the July 5 low of 163.
The death toll continues to accelerate its rate of increase. After reaching the 12,000 mark on Aug. 22, the cumulative total is now up to 12,291. The 7-day average has reached 41.57 deaths per day, the highest that measure has seen since early March. Compared to the July 5 low of 2.86, the average is now multiplied by a factor of 14½.
There were 37 COVID-attributed deaths in Jefferson County over the previous seven days.
Hospitalizations are still at crisis level thanks to the summer surge. As of Tuesday, the number of intensive care unit patients statewide has exceeded 1,600 for six straight days, while the number of staffed ICU beds has been around 1,550 — in other words, there are more patients than beds. That situation has existed at least since Aug. 20, the first day that the Alabama Hospital Association began reporting detailed daily hospitalization figures via Twitter, bypassing the ADPH online portal.
In total, 2,873 hospital beds were occupied by COVID patients on Tuesday, near the highest total since the current surge began two months ago. There were 55 pediatric patients, with Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham caring for 20 of those.
Unvaccinated patients were 84% of the total, 4% were partially vaccinated and 12% had received the full dosage. Those percentages have varied only slightly over the previous week.
BirminghamWatch uses data published by the ADPH on its online dashboard.