As COVID-19 cases rise nationally, Alabama sees hospitalizations trending up


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The United States has seen a 34 percent increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, while Alabama has seen its two-week case average hold mostly steady at around 1,000 new cases a day.

But that steady line follows a decline in cases a month ago — and the new trend line officials warned about heading into flu season.

Alabama is not seeing the continued spike in new cases like some parts of the country, but most of North Alabama is currently listed as “high risk” or “very high risk” for spread of the disease.
But the number that officials have been watching most closely over the past few months are hospitalizations — more serious cases.

Hospitalizations statewide are climbing back up, figures show. On Sept. 25 there were 703 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Alabama and Tuesday the number was up to 846.

Looking at Huntsville Hospital’s figures, the number of patients in the system currently isn’t dropping much. With 133 patients on Tuesday, 122 Monday and 145 on Thursday. Looking back, there is mixed progress, on Sept. 18 there were about 100 patients, but on Aug. 20 the number of patients was markedly higher at 157 and back on July 23 it was 205.

Dr. Ali Hassoun an infectious disease specialist said the hospitalization rate for the Huntsville Hospital system, was really mirrored statewide.

“In July was very very challenging,” he said. “Mid-July, July 10th to about mid-August, but the peak was around July 29, July 30. We had most of the beds full, ICU full. It was very challenging and stressful.

“And then around the end of August, September, really the hospitalizations went down. And didn’t go down like we had in March and April, but it went down where we were able to have a little bit of relief. But I can tell you now, over the last probably 10 days, we’ve seen slowly, slowly, these cases going up again.”

Hassoun said a case spike would be concerning, but he also expressed confidence over the improvement in treatment and the experience doctors and nurses have developed in the past six months in dealing with the virus.

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