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COVID cases and hospitalizations continue decreasing, deaths remain high in Alabama

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 1:22 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The latest COVID-19 surge in Alabama has subsided, but the pandemic is ongoing.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 1,598 new cases and 58 more deaths in the last 24 hours.

While community transmission and case numbers are decreasing overall in Alabama, ADPH says COVID-19 cases are declining at a slower rate among children.

They are urging schools to continue universal masking indoors to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Public school districts in Alabama reported 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 among students and staff this week, which was down from 1,167 last week.

Nearly four months have passed since Alabama’s most recent COVID-19 surge started.

Hospitals began noting an uptick in COVID patients in early July with the number of hospitalizations climbing rapidly, depleting the state’s ICU bed capacity and straining other resources for months.

Hospitalizations plateaued at just under 3,000 in early September and began a steady decline.

The decline in hospitalizations is due to a combination of lower levels of community transmission, an increase in vaccinations, the use of monoclonal antibodies and deaths, according to Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alabama have been on the decline after peaking in early September.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alabama have been on the decline after peaking in early September.(Source: Alabama Department of Public Health)

As of Oct. 21, the hospital association reported 574 COVID hospitalizations statewide with about 200 ICU beds available. The number of ICU patients with COVID has also declined from highs of more than 50% to a current rate of about 15%.

The state led the nation in COVID test positivity percentages, which climbed to 23% in August. During this time the health department noted the level of community transmission in all 67 Alabama counties was high.

Currently, Alabama’s test positivity rate has declined significantly with about 7% of tests currently coming back confirmed for the virus. That has been reflected in county data, with the ADPH noting just 23 counties are still considered in the high level for community transmission.

Overall level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Alabama in the past seven days.
Overall level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Alabama in the past seven days.(Source: Alabama Department of Public Health)

The surge in cases helped boost the overall number of Alabamians seeking vaccinations, though the state remains near the bottom nationally. ADPH reports 2,064,354 residents are now considered fully vaccinated.

Alabama has confirmed 818,652 COVID cases and 15,378 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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