The latest numbers on coronavirus cases in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports there are now 1,479,605 confirmed coronavirus cases across the state, in addition to over 50,000 hospitalizations, and 20,048 confirmed deaths connected to the virus since the pandemic first began in 2020.

According to the ADPH, all 67 counties have confirmed positive coronavirus cases. Jefferson County has the highest number of coronavirus cases with 213,383 confirmed cases. Mobile County has the second-highest number with 125,962, and Madison County has 104,317 confirmed cases.

The ADPH stated that approximately over 3 million people had been tested since the pandemic began back in March 2020. In the last week, the department reports roughly 40,319 tests had been given, with 9,149 coming back positive.

According to the ADPH’s newer COVID-19 vaccine distribution dashboard, over 10.1 million vaccine doses have been delivered to the state. As of Aug. 25, over 6.3 million doses had been administered.

ADPH is updating the confirmed cases up to the minute and case numbers may change according to its database. The first confirmed death was reported by the Jackson County Commission on March 25, 2020.

Alabama hit a record-high in daily new coronavirus cases on January 7, 2021 with 12,972 confirmed cases, the highest daily increase yet.

UAB Hospital has announced the Monday after Christmas 2020 it was caring for 207 COVID patients, a new record high for the hospital. Alabama set a new COVID-19 hospitalization record on January 4, 2021, reaching over 3,000 for the first time—a 50% growth over the previous month.

The latest coronavirus numbers come at a time when the state has taken enacted restrictions to keep people safe, as part of a multi-phase reopening plan. On January 21, 2021, Gov. Kay Ivey extended Alabama’s “Safer at Home” order until March 5. This was Governor Ivey’s 22nd supplemental state of emergency proclamation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Her previous decision on November 5, 2020 to concurrently ease Alabama business occupancy restrictions was met with strong criticism from a number of health experts in the state.

With cases mounting over the past couple of months, health officials have offered clarification regarding daily reports, which often include backlogged information.

After the Jefferson County Department reported 33 deaths due to COVID-19 on November 11, 2020, the county health officer Dr. Mark Wilson offered clarification in a statement provided Thursday to CBS 42.

“Many of the extra COVID-19 deaths were deaths that occurred earlier, even as far back as July or August. This is because there were some deaths that were not immediately identified as related to COVID-19, but upon review of deaths certificates there determined to be COVID-19 deaths. There can be a delay of several weeks or even months in getting a death certificate signed and then reviewed, especially if someone died at home.” 

Southeast Health in Dothan became the first Alabama hospital to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to its workers on December 17, 2020. Later that day, the Birmingham Veterans Affairs facility administered COVID-19 vaccines to its last surviving former prisoners-of-war. Birmingham’s VA office was one of 37 sites in the U.S. selected to receive initial doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Also that day UAB Hospital in Birmingham confirmed the arrival of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at UAB Hospital and Cullman Regional. The Moderna vaccine arrived in Alabama the next week on December 22, 2020—a total shipment nearly three times the size as the state’s initial Pfizer allocation.

The rising number of cases over the past couple of months has prompted Birmingham-area hospital staff to urge the public to refrain from large holiday gatherings and travel.

Schools too, have made efforts to reduce transmission. Public school students first transitioned to online learning on April 6, 2020. In August, many students returned to the classroom with remote learning options available, but since then, many have reverted to online instruction during times of case outbreaks.

Alabama’s health orders have been in effect since March 2020. Gov. Kay Ivey issued the first statewide health order to better contain the virus on March 19, 2020. On April 3, 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home health order that went into effect at 5 p.m. on April 5.

*Total tested primarily represents tests that were satisfactorily performed by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL), along with some data from commercial labs. Commercial labs are required, by law, to report positive tests to ADPH. Some commercial labs do not report negative specimens.