The Alabama Department of Public Heath reported 23 additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, taking the state’s death toll to 2,540 at the close of the month of September. At least 373 Alabamians were reported dead from COVID-19 in Alabama in September.
That number, though still high, is down from 582 COVID-19 deaths in August and 630 deaths in July, the worst month for the state.
Hospitalizations remain elevated but also down from peaks in July and early August. At least 776 Alabamians were reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday, the first month of October. July saw as many as 1,613 people in Alabama hospitals combating the virus.
ADPH reported 1,147 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the final day of September, taking the state’s total case count to 154,701. The state had 28,643 citizens who have tested positive for the coronavirus in September. That is down from 38,335 new cases in August and 49,678 cases in July.
The seven-day rolling average dropped all the down to just 856 cases per day on Sept. 9 but has ticked up near the end of the month to 1,078 cases per day on Sept. 30. The state peaked on July 18 at 2,119 cases per day but had dropped steadily through August.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s mark order on July 15 has been credited by public health authorities for the improvement in the state’s case numbers.
On Wednesday, Ivey, with consultation from State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, has extended her mask order to Nov. 8. Ivey said that she is leaving the mask order in place even though she knows that many people do not like wearing the masks to prevent the state from back sliding in its fight against the virus.
“I know that there are many people throughout this state who had hoped we would follow the lead of some other states who have removed the mask order,” Ivey said. “We’ve heard from a lot of you. And I hear you.”
“To those who want the masks to go away, I’m just asking you to continue to please, please be patient,” the governor added. “Be patient a little while longer. And y’all, just know I am as tired of masks as any one of you, maybe more than most.”
The counties that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic have been Jefferson with 352 deaths, Mobile with 295, Montgomery with 187, Tuscaloosa with 118, Walker with 87, Tallapoosa with 85, Madison with 80, Lee with 61, Baldwin with 52 and Shelby with 50 deaths.
All of Alabama’s 67 counties have lost at least two people to COVID-19.
The “safer-at-home” order is still in place. Citizens are advised to stay in their houses as much as possible. If you have to leave your home, practice social distancing and wear a mask or cloth face covering, wash your hands frequently, stay six feet away from people not in your household, avoid touching your face and avoid crowded venues.
Everyone is being advised to get a flu shot this year.
Ivey said that the state is already working on plans to begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. The first doses of the vaccine could be available later this year.
The novel strain of the coronavirus was first diagnosed in China in late 2019. It has since killed 1,020,217 people worldwide including 212,005 people in the United States, the world’s worst-hit country.