COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Alabama, Madison County rate among state’s lowest

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The state of Alabama has tested more than 195,000 people for COVID-19 since mid-March.

The case total to date is just under 16,000 and nearly 8,000 people are counted as recovered, but the state is also seeing a sharp rise in recent days of COVID-19 cases.

Wednesday’s Huntsville-area COVID-19 briefing included word that Huntsville Hospital has now tested more than 16,000 people in the North Alabama region.

There’s been a sharp increase in the Shoals area for COVID-19 cases recently, particularly out of Franklin County over the past five days or so. There are more COVID-19 patients at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield than in Huntsville, said Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers.

During Wednesday’s regular COVID-19 briefing Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the low case rate in Madison County shows the value of a public hospital like Huntsville Hospital, which can move quickly to establish mobile testing and a flu and fever clinic.

But case rates across Alabama have shown a sharp spike.

Looking at Alabama’s cumulative case rate, Monday and Tuesday we had the state’s two biggest days so far in terms of positive tests — 639 on Monday and 593 on Tuesday. Last month, state officials said they were hoping that the case average of 200 or so a day would fall. That hasn’t happened and over the past two weeks statewide, we’re averaging 364 new cases a day. Madison County by contrast has the second-lowest case rate in the state, at 83 per 100,000.

“Madison County continues to be an anomaly in the state,” Spillers said during the briefing. “We have nine in-patients in our hospital today. I talked to my colleagues that are in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile, where they have numerous inpatients and communities full of positive patients. I strongly encourage our community to continue doing whatever it is you’re doing to help us keep those numbers low.”

Spillers said nearly all of the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 have one or more underlying health conditions like health or diabetes. State figures show there were just over 600 COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals on Tuesday.