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Nearly 32,000 Alabamians contracted the coronavirus in August

A doctor in a protective suit taking a nasal swab from a person to test for possible coronavirus infection

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported Monday — the last day in August — that another 696 Alabamians tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Throughout the month, 31,874 Alabamians were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

That total does not include an unknown number of Alabamians who may have or have had the virus but were never tested.

Cases per day are down from highs in July, the worst month of the pandemic for the state, but still averaged 1,028 cases per day for the month of August. At least 47,742 Alabamians were diagnosed with the virus in the month of July — for an average of 1,540 cases per day.

There were 19,584 cases in June, 10,887 cases in May, 6,069 in April and 999 in March.

August was the first month of the pandemic during which the total number of cases in the state declined from the previous month. Public health officials are crediting Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask mandate on July 14 with being responsible for the drop in the rate of spread of the virus.

At least 117,152 Alabamians tested positive for the coronavirus in the first six months of the global pandemic.

The ADPH also announced on Monday that 16 more Alabamians had died from COVID-19, taking the state’s death toll to 2,083. At least 552 Alabamians died in the month of August alone

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August trails only the month of July for the number of Alabamians who perished in the pandemic.

At least 605 Alabamians died in July from COVID-19, 297 Alabamians died from COVID-19 in June, 358 in May, 249 in April and 13 in March.

The state averaged over 17.8 deaths per day from COVID-19 in August.

The CDC recently reported that 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths have one or more underlying chronic health conditions. These include obesity, blood pressure issues, weakened lungs due to smoking or vaping, heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

Nearly half of Americans have one or more chronic health conditions.

ADPH reported 1,004 Alabamians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, up from 969 on Sunday, which was the lowest number of Alabamians hospitalized since July 7.

At least 44,684 Alabamians have recovered from the virus. More than 20 percent of the time patients are asymptomatic and don’t realize that they are sick. Public health officials warn that asymptomatic or presymptomatic people may still spread the virus.

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Public health officials are concerned that the Labor Day weekend this week could lead to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases. Cases spiked following both the Fourth of July and Memorial Day weekends.

Ivey’s “safer-at-home” order, including the requirement that Alabamians wear masks or cloth face coverings when interacting with people outside of their own household, has been extended through Oct. 2.

Public health officials are advising citizens to continue to stay at least six feet from persons outside of their household at all times, wash their hands frequently, avoid large gatherings and to please stay in your homes except for work, school or shopping for necessities.

More than 187,742 Americans have died in the pandemic, and more than 6.2 million have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Of those, 2,567,562 are still considered active cases.

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

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