COVID cases surge again in Alabama, most new cases since March: weekly recap

COVID cases continue to slowly rise in Alabama, and hospitalizations surged as the state ended the week with more than 1,000 new cases Friday.

This is the first time since March 2 that the state has added at least 1,000 cases in a single day, according to data from the Alabama Department of Health. Friday’s total brought the state’s weekly case count to 4,554.

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Cases remain far below where they were this winter, when the Omicron variant pushed the state’s case count to unprecedented levels. There was a week in January when Alabama added more than 116,000 new cases.

Still, case numbers in Alabama have risen in each of the past six weeks after hitting a record low in the spring. The state’s 7-day moving average for new cases hit 650 on Friday, the highest since March.

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The current wavelet is not as steep or as large as the Omicron rise, which made a near-vertical ascent in a short time frame in December 2021 and January 2022. Friday’s 7-day moving average is up 175% from the number a month ago. That’s a significant increase, but nothing compared to when omicron started. In the first month of the Omicron surge, the state’s 7-day moving average rose 1,464%.

But cases aren’t the only metric Alabama is seeing an increase in.

The state’s COVID positivity rate — the percentage of tests conducted that come back positive — has also risen in recent weeks, surpassing 10% this week for the first time since February.

[Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

Again, the positivity rate is nowhere near Omicron’s highs. But the trend is steadily upwards and is currently more than double the 5% positivity rate long thought to be the target for opening things up safely.

The number of hospital stays also remains relatively low, but continues to increase. The state reported 125 COVID hospitalizations on Friday, up from 100 a week ago. That number was in the 50s in the spring.

After starting in urban areas like Birmingham and Huntsville, this mini-wave appears to be spreading slightly, with counties across the state reporting relatively high positivity rates and case rates per capita. On the map below you can see the current case numbers, case rates, and positivity rates for each county.

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Have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter @Ramsey Archibald. Read more data stories from Alabama here.

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