MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is closing out 2020 with the worst month so far in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
December has set - and broken - numerous records related to cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the illness began spreading here in mid-March.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, Thursday brought another 4,406 cases of the respiratory disease, raising the state’s seven-day average to 3,203 new cases per day.
The final week of the year has seen 17,768 cases, so far, while the month has seen a record-breaking 108,362 cases. December’s caseload is the first time Alabama has crossed the six-digit mark in a single month.
Health care officials had warned of a significant spike in cases as people gathered for the holidays.
December accounts for a full 30 percent off all cases in the nine months since Alabama became swept up by the global health crisis.
The crisis has only intensified stress on the state’s overwhelmed health system. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris recently said data indicates about 10 percent of those who test positive will eventually needed hospital-level care.
As it stands, 2020 will end with hospitals pushed to the brink and treating an astronomically high 2,815 inpatients for the disease. And more are expected after illnesses become apparent from recent holiday gatherings.
[READ MORE: Alabama hospitals face ‘doomsday’ scenario]
Currently, Baptist Health’s three Montgomery area hospitals are treating 158 people while Jackson Hospital has climbed to a new record of 69 patients. There have been 33,831 hospitalizations for the disease since the pandemic started.
December is also the deadliest month of the pandemic, accounting for a quarter of all COVID-19-related deaths. That includes 53 deaths reported Thursday, 142 so far for the week, and 1,189 for the month.
A total of 4,827 people have died of the illness in 2020.
Despite December being the deadliest month, due to proliferation of disease in the state, Alabama’s death rate has actually declined steadily since May, going from nearly four percent to around 1.4 percent currently.
In other words, while more are getting infected, fewer people are dying. Physicians attribute that to new medications and treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients, both in and out of the hospital.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, both the Montgomery and Tuskegee campuses currently have 83 active cases.
ADPH provides data on a number of points related to COVID-19. More features can be accessed by clicking here.
Alabama hospitals have started rolling out vaccinations to frontline medical workers and nursing homes.
The ADPH provides a color-code map showing the risk indicator for each of the state’s 67 counties. You can also view more details on each county by clicking here.
Alabama’s school systems have been working to teach students through a variety of ways, whether in-person, through virtual or distance learning, or a hybrid option. ADPH and the state education department have since released a dashboard that is updated weekly that tracks the number of COVID-19 reports on a system-wide level. Each report includes combined student and staff data. Individual schools are not identified due to privacy policies.
The Alabama Department of Corrections oversees more than 26,000 inmates. It provides a report on the disease among prisoners and ADOC staff.
You can also review the latest data on not just Alabama, but every county in the nation by using this map. Hover over any county to see the numbers. The map is shaded to show the concentration of confirmed COVID-19 cases relative to the population in that county. The data is pulled from Johns Hopkins University.