The number of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama jumped by 964 on Friday, a sign that days of record-breaking new daily cases may not be coming to an end, and community spread of the virus continues.
Alabama’s 964 new cases on Friday was the third-highest daily count since the pandemic began, and came the day after the state recorded its highest daily new cases — with 1,129 recorded on Thursday. Friday’s 14-day average of new cases set a record high, at 742.
Hospitalizations are up as well. On Thursday, there were 693 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the state, the highest single-day of hospitalizations since the crisis began. ADPH is expected to post Friday’s hospitalizations later in the afternoon.
The new data from the Alabama Department of Public Health on Friday also shows that seven more Alabamians died from COVID-19, bringing the state’s death count to 887. There have been 33,717 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.
The 7- and 14-day averages of tests performed has remained relatively flat for most of April, May and June, but is rising steadily over the last couple weeks, but the percentage of those tests that are positive has also been increasing, a sign that there’s still community spread of coronavirus throughout the state.
On Friday the 14-day average of the percent of tests that were positive was 11.3 percent, one of the highest levels it’s been since the pandemic began.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told APR on Thursday that he’s concerned over the rising case counts, and signs that there’s continued community spread of coronavirus. “We’re still seeing a significant number of cases that aren’t linked to another case, as far as we know,” Harris said, noting that the source of transmission for many cases had not been identified.
Jefferson County saw 149 new cases on Friday, the largest single-day new case count recorded in the county, bringing the county’s total case count to 3,481.
Over the last week, Jefferson County added 690 cases, and if the trend continues the county could soon surpass the county with the most recorded cases, Montgomery County at 3,521.
Laura Grill, president and CEO of East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, said Thursday that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama is alarming, and predicts that hospitalizations will continue to rise, threatening the state’s hospital system just when schools are set to reopen with the regular flu season following.
Lee County added 46 COVID-19 cases on Friday, and 215 cases within the last week.
“As a nation, as a state, and as a community, we must find a way to both contain COVID-19 and go about our daily lives as best as possible,” Grill said “We were doing okay for a while after the Safe-at-Home restrictions were lifted, but we’re returning to high levels of transmission in the community again. Many of our hospitals in Alabama are overwhelmed right now, and I’m concerned we could soon be right back there with them.”
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases, on Thursday stressed to the public the importance of wearing masks and continuing to practice social distancing as a way to slow the virus’s spread and save lives.
“It really comes down to everyone’s realization that we can change the trajectory of this epidemic,” Marrazzo said.