At least 1,200 people have “recovered” from infection with COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Public Health said Sunday in a statement to APR.
“Recovered is a broad term used based upon persons who were no longer having symptoms at the time of interview and/or have completed quarantine,” said Dr. Karen Landers, the assistant state health officer. “CDC will give more guidance on terminology as this response continues.”
The Department of Public Health has not been regularly releasing recovery data. Because of limited public health resources and the ongoing response to the crisis, tracking recoveries has proven difficult. It’s even more difficult given that most people who have the virus resolve within a few weeks without any serious medical intervention.
“We’re still trying to get recovery data,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said earlier this month. “We don’t have that simply because we’ve just started having cases just in the last couple of weeks and it takes a while to know that. When people are infected they take a little bit of time to recover. We know just from looking around the world over the past three to four months, around 80% of people have a pretty mild illness. And so, I don’t know that we would expect that to be any different here.”
The new information about people who have recovered from the virus comes as the number of confirmed cases in the state nears 5,000. At least 157 people have died after testing positive for the virus. Of those, 113 have been verified as deaths caused primarily by COVID-19.
Since March 13, at least 641 people have been hospitalized. It is not clear how many people are currently hospitalized. The number of hospitalizations reported by ADPH on its dashboard is cumulative and delayed as epidemiologists must investigate each case, which takes time.
Tracking hospitalizations and recoveries is more difficult in Alabama because the state is one of two states that do not have laws authorizing a statewide hospital discharge database, which would help public health officials more easily track hospital admittances and discharges.