Things are opening back up as Alabama joins states loosening restrictions on public gatherings, but is COVID-19 gone?
Not according to public health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who testified Tuesday at a public Senate hearing that reopening too quickly could “risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
Fauci said the nation does not need to skip over the checkpoints in the “Open America Again” guidelines published by the White House on April 16 that set data-driven conditions each state should satisfy before proceeding to a phased opening. This criteria included a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period.
“If cities or regions skip that criteria, we may start to see spikes that turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said. “The consequences could be serious.”
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks, as of May 12, the state has had 10,260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 13, when the first case was reported in Alabama. There have been 1,280 hospitalizations and 428 fatalities.
DeKalb County reported its first case on March 26, and there have been 158 confirmed cases since then, plus two fatalities. There were 66 new cases in the past week, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, representing 231 cases per 100,000 people. Cases have doubled in eight days.
From a population of 71,513, a total of 1,509 (2.1 percent) have been tested at DeKalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne, Encore Medical Spa at 1202 Gault Avenue N in Fort Payne, CarePlus at 3000 Gault Avenue N in Fort Payne, Fort Payne Health Center at 3840 Gault Avenue N in Fort Payne, the Fyffe Health Center at 34617 Alabama Highway 75 in Fyffe. These are facilities who have reported to ADPH that they are collecting specimens for COVID-19 and does not reflect all collection sites in Alabama.
The number of persons tested currently represents tests that were satisfactorily performed by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL), along with data from commercial and clinical labs. Commercial and clinical labs are required by law to report all positive and all negative results for COVID-19 to ADPH.
Examining the seven-day average of cases per day, Alabama had been trending downward since April 9, when there was a seven-day average of 339 cases. The state saw a seven-day average of 143 cases on April 30, but has seen a surge of new cases, including a seven-day average of 355 cases on May 7.
Over the last 7 days, the average number of cases per day in Alabama has trended upward:
• May 5: 325 cases
• May 6: 254 cases
• May 7: 355 cases
• May 8: 339 cases
• May 9: 283 cases
• May 10: 221 cases
• May 11: 275 cases
Marshall County continues to show the most cases in an adjoining county, with 576 confirmed cases since their first reported case on March 25. Eight people have died there. In Etowah County, there have been 193 cases reported since March 25 and 10 deaths. Jackson County has 60 cases and two fatalities since March 20. Cherokee County has 24 cases.
In neighboring Georgia, Dade County has 17 cases and one death, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Walker County has 68 cases and no deaths. Chattooga County has 16 cases with 2 deaths reported.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) COVID-19 dashboard now shows 4.2 million total confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 1.3 million inside the United States, and 286,940 deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, 80,706 fatalities happening inside the U.S.
For more information, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/cov-faq.html.
For general COVID-19 questions, call 1-800-270-7268 or email email@example.com. Telephone calls are answered from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.