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Alabama reports at least 124 deaths so far in October

At least 124 Alabamians have been reported dead from COVID-19 thus far in the month of October.

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Saturday reported 11 additional deaths from COVID-19, taking the state’s death toll to 2,664.

ADPH reported no additional COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, though that does not necessarily mean that no one died. Zero reported deaths on Sundays are frequent events. That could mean that the hospitals had a delay in reporting due to the weekend or, more likely, that the Alabama Department of Public Health is still investigating the deaths and can not yet confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.

At least 124 Alabamians have been reported dead from COVID-19 thus far in the month of October.

The counties with the most COVID-19 deaths are Jefferson with 362 deaths, Mobile with 308, Montgomery with 189, Tuscaloosa with 128, Walker with 91, Tallapoosa with 85, Madison with 83, Baldwin with 65, Lee with 64 and Shelby with 58. All 67 Alabama counties have had at least three COVID-19 deaths.

The day on which a death is reported is not necessarily the same day on which the person died. Recently released data from the Alabama Department of Public Health shows a more accurate count of deaths by actual date of death. That data shows 47 deaths so far in October, but the count is heavily delayed, and deaths may not be added to the count for several weeks on average.

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Over the weekend, 1,877 new cases of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, were reported in Alabama, taking the state’s case count to 165,342. At least 6,173 cases were reported in the last seven days.

At least 796 Alabamians were hospitalized with coronavirus over the weekend. While that is half the number of hospitalizations the state experienced during the previous peak of COVID-19 in July and August, there has been essentially no improvement in hospitalization numbers since mid-September. On Friday, the number of hospitalizations reached more than 800 for the first time since mid-September.

The seven-day average on the number of cases is also essentially little changed since Sept. 9. At least 91,438 Alabamians have active cases of the virus — the 14th most in the nation. The U.S. currently has 2.64 million diagnosed cases with California alone having 399,491 active cases.

Even President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have contracted the virus. This is despite the White House saying that they are testing everyone who enters the facility for coronavirus with a rapid test by Abbot Labs. Several people around the President, including his campaign manager and press secretary, have tested positive for the virus.

A Coast Guard admiral and the number two Marine Corps general have also contracted the virus in the last couple of weeks.

Alabama remains under a “safer-at-home” order. If you can stay home, public health authorities advise that you stay home. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide mask order. Anytime that you are around people not in your household you need to wear a mask or cloth face covering.

Citizens should social distance at all time. Do not hug or shake hands with people not living in your own household, this includes relatives. Stay six feet or more apart. Avoid crowds, wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris is urging Alabamians to get a flu vaccine this year. Flu season will be upon us within just a few weeks and hospitals are still dealing with COVID-19 cases.

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At least 219,706 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the disease first entered the United States earlier this year. COVID-19 has become one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. since the disease emerged in China late last year. Four companies are in final trials for a coronavirus vaccine and that could become available as early as next month, pending FDA approval, though it is unlikely to be widely available until next year.

It is not known at this time how effective a COVID-19 vaccine would be.

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

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