BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — More people are hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 in Alabama than any time since August as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the state, health officials reported Tuesday.
Statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health showed that 1,001 people were hospitalized with the illness, marking the first time since Aug. 31 that hospitalizations statewide passed the triple digits.
While worsening, the total is much lower than in July, when around 1,600 people were treated daily in hospitals after a surge of cases that health officials believe was linked to the Fourth of July holiday.
But cases have been on a steady rise since late September, and health officials say it's unclear whether Alabama is headed to a new spike in cases that could stretch the capacity of hospital intensive care units or a more gradual increase.
With both Halloween and Election Day just days away, Dr. Karen Landers of the state health agency said positive test results are rising along with hospitalizations.
“Thus, it is critically important that persons continue to adhere to social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and the use of the cloth face covering,” she said.
Nearly 2,900 people have died of COVID-19 in Alabama, and more than 186,000 have tested positive. Over the last two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 782, an increase of 86%.
The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but it can be deadly for the elderly and people with other, serious health problems.