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Alabama’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising again

The state’s hospitals were caring for 856 coronavirus patients Monday, which was just more than half the number of coronavirus patients who were hospitalized during the previous peak of 1,613 patients on Aug. 6.

Doctor in hospital corridor, unfocused background.

The number of people hospitalized in Alabama for COVID-19 on Monday was as high as it’s been since Sept. 9, and for each of the past 12 days, Alabama’s seven-day average of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has increased.

The state’s hospitals were caring for 856 coronavirus patients Monday, which was just more than half the number of coronavirus patients who were hospitalized during the peak of 1,613 patients on Aug. 6, when many hospitals were having to take beds set up for other patients and give them to those with COVID-19, prompting concerns that the hospitals were being stretched too thin. 

The steady rise in hospitalizations lately, however, is being watched closely by state health care providers, Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told APR last week. There’s concern that with the regular flu season approaching and COVID-19 hospitalization headed in the wrong direction, hospitals could once again become strained. 

For each of the last five days, the state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has increased, based on 14-day averages. On Monday, the 14-day average percent positivity was just more than 13 percent. Public health experts say that number should be at or below 5 percent; otherwise, a higher percentage suggests there isn’t enough testing and cases are going undetected. 

Alabama’s 14-day average of daily cases on Monday was 935. The state added 734 new cases on Monday. Since the pandemic began, there have been a cumulative total of 166,076 confirmed cases statewide. The 14-day average of cases per day hasn’t dipped below 900 since Sept. 19. 

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Alabama’s number of cases per 1 million residents ranks fifth highest in the nation, according to the COVID-19 tracking website Worldometers, and the state ranks 10th highest in the number of active cases. That’s a troubling ranking, given that Alabama also ranks 41st in the nation on the number of coronavirus tests administered per million residents. 

If Alabama’s seven-day average of reported COVID-19 deaths, which was 15 on Monday, continues, the state’s confirmed death toll from coronavirus will surpass the number of people killed during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks one day before the Nov. 3 election. As of Monday, 2,665 Alabamians have died from COVID-19.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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