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Alabama counties at ‘very high risk’ for COVID-19 spread quadruples in 2 weeks

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise and deemed a “very high risk” in 26 of Alabama’s 67 counties, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s risk indicator map. Last week, 21 counties were listed, up considerably from six just two weeks ago.

“I think given the pockets of unvaccinated people we have in the state, that is concerning,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said.

According to ADPH, counties in red have seen an increase in community spread.

“In some cases, they’re not a lot of cases, you know they’re not huge numbers like we were seeing back in January or December, but they are going the wrong direction,” Harris said.

The counties in red on July 8 include: Montgomery, Chilton, Autauga, Elmore, Lee, Macon, Crenshaw, Coffee, Dale, Henry, Houston, Lauderdale, Limestone, Colbert, Morgan, Marshall, Blount, Walker, Jefferson, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, Shelby, Talladega, Clarke, Mobile and Baldwin.

This comes as the Delta variant spreads across Alabama. It is about 50 percent more transmissible, according to the state health officer.

“We’ve seen Delta variant in all parts of the state,” he said. “It’s not clustered in one area.”

Despite the rise in case numbers, Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted Thursday that the state will remain “OPEN for business.”

“Vaccines are readily available and I encourage folks to get one,” Ivey said. “The state of emergency and health orders have expired. We are moving forward.”

When asked about the governor’s tweet, Harris also indicated he does not foresee any more state-mandated restrictions.

“I don’t think that there’s any discussion really about bringing back restrictions,” Harris said, adding that Alabamians should take it upon themselves to follow health guidelines.

“It’s a great idea for people to, you know, use their common sense,” Harris said. He encouraged vulnerable populations and seniors to be “at the front of the line” for vaccination.

Of the those eligible for the vaccine, people over the age of 12, Harris said over 40 percent received a shot.

“I think we’re ahead of about four other states, which is better than last place but still not really the position we’d like to be in,” he said.

A county’s risk level is reflected in ADPH’s color-coded map, which changes based on whether case counts are increasing or decreasing. Below is a description of each risk level:

  • If the number of cases is staying the same or is increasing, they will be Very High Risk (Red).
  • If a county has decreasing case counts for one to six days, they will be High Risk (Orange).
  • If a county is in a downward trajectory of seven to 13 days, they will be Moderate (Yellow).
  • If a county is in a downward trajectory of 14 or more days (or has a rate of 10 or less over the previous two weeks), they will be considered Low Risk (Green).

Alabama has had 552,911 total confirmed cases of the virus and 11,387 deaths since March 2020. ADPH says 1,860,951 people have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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