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Alabama coronavirus cases continue upward trend

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Monday reported that an additional 1,718 Alabamians were diagnosed with the coronavirus. This breaks the record just set on Thursday of 1,129 cases, but the large increase on Monday was largely due to a data reporting delay that caused cases from Saturday and Sunday to be reported on Monday.

“The automatic feeds from laboratories that make up the majority of the SARS-CoV-2 lab reports received did not process,” the Department of Public Health said in a statement. “The backlog for June 27 should be fixed and reflected in the June 28 daily total on the dashboard which will occur in tomorrow’s update. Therefore the June 29 update will include the lab results from June 27 and 28. This also affects the total Confirmed Cases and Total Tested numbers that appear on the dashboard today and tomorrow.”

Despite the problem contributing to a higher reported total Monday than otherwise would have been the case, cases continue an upward trend and the seven- and 14-day averages of new cases — used to smooth out daily variability and inconsistent reporting of day-to-day case increases — are at their highest points since the pandemic began.

This raises the total number of coronavirus cases in the state to 36,682, as of Monday.

In the last seven days, 6,651 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus as the virus is surging across the state. The novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, causes the condition known as COVID-19. In most cases of COVID-19 symptoms are mild, but it can be severe and even lead to death.

In the first 29 days of June, 18,730 cases have been diagnosed across the state of Alabama. This is more than double the number of coronavirus cases that were diagnosed in March, April and May combined.

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In the U.S., 381,876 cases have been diagnosed in the last ten days, but deaths nationally have been gradually dropping.

In Alabama, new cases are rising much faster than COVID-19 deaths, but deaths have also risen. At least 275 Alabamians have died from COVID-19 in the month of June. At least 630 died in the previous three months, with 358 deaths in the month of May, 259 in April and just 12 deaths in March.

All 67 counties in the state have had coronavirus cases with Jefferson County having the most cases with 4,053 cases. 3,727 cases have been diagnosed in Montgomery County. Mobile County is next with 3,537 cases. They are followed by Tuscaloosa with 1925, Marshall with 1453, Lee 1135, Shelby 1018, Madison 996, Morgan 939 and Franklin with 831.

In March and early April, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey shut the Alabama economy down to fight the spread of the virus. Eventually a shelter in place order was placed on the people of Alabama. At the end of April, the shelter in place order was lifted and order were given to reopen the economy. The economy has reopened, but now coronavirus cases are surging again. Ivey replaced her shelter in place order with a safer-at-home order that is set to expire on Friday.

Ivey will have to decide whether to extend her safer-at-home order in the next several days.

Based on the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state, it is still safer at home. Public health officials are urging citizens to practice social distancing. Specifically, avoid crowds, don’t shake hands, keep six feet away from everyone else, wash hands frequently, avoid touching your face, wear a mask or a cloth face covering, and stay at home whenever possible.

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“Infections and hospitalizations are rising across the state and continue to remain a threat to the health of all Alabamians,” Congresswoman Martha Roby stated. “State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris along with ADPH highly encourage all individuals to wear some type of facial covering when necessary to help prevent infection. Each Alabamian should practice personal responsibility in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus across the state. It is up to each of us to protect those in our communities.”

There are fears that the pending Fourth of July holiday will only lead to more gatherings, less social distancing, and more spread of the coronavirus.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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