MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As much of the nation’s attention turns to the latest developments and protests following the death of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread.
Over the past 14 days, Alabama has confirmed 5,560 new cases of the respiratory virus, or just shy of 400 new cases, on average, per day. There are now 18,500 confirmed cases, though the Alabama Department of Public Health presumes about 9,300, or around half, have recovered.
The death toll has also continued to climb with it now standing at 651. ADPH’s data shows the elderly and African-Americans are disproportionately affected. About 80 percent of deaths are in those over age 65. And while African-Americans make up about a quarter of the state’s population, they account for nearly half of the fatalities.
Testing has also significantly increased in recent days. About a third of the 231,000 tests that have been conducted since the state’s first confirmed case in mid-March have been done in just the last two weeks.
“Certainly our numbers say that we still have COVID-19 circulating widely in Alabama,” says Dr. Karen Landers with the ADPH.
For Montgomery, which now accounts for 10 percent of the state’s coronavirus cases, Landers says there doesn’t appear to be a specific entity that’s causing the spread. Rather, it now appears to be community transmission.
Jackson Hospital reports having 57 positive COVID-19 in-patients and 15 in-patients pending test results, while Baptist Health confirms 104 in-patients across its three area hospitals.
The doctor said it’s still too early to determine if Alabama has hit a peak in the number of cases. “We really need to look at it from the standpoint of where we are at the moment and not get into a false sense of security if we see cases go down,” she explained.
The cases have climbed as Alabama has continued to ease restrictions on people, businesses and events. Landers says it comes down to personal responsibility, stressing that if you go out to remember social distancing, proper hygiene, and wearing of masks.
“We have a responsibility to our community, to our friends and loved ones, as well as to ourselves, to try to reduce getting this disease so that our hospitals, and our physicians and our nurses will not be overwhelmed taking care of severely ill patients.”