How do the first two months in Alabama’s COVID-19 battle compare?

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Alabama’s battle against COVID-19 hit the two-month mark on Wednesday, May 13, after the first confirmed case came on Friday, March 13, and the battle looks different today than it did in that first week.

While the first month yielded the close of businesses, the approval of stimulus checks and stay-at-home orders, the second month has seen a relaxing of the stay-at-home order and many businesses opening at certain capacity.

As for COVID-19 numbers, Shelby County has seen almost 100 less confirmed cases in the second month of the outbreak despite 4,499 tests in that span compared to 1,358 in the first month.

That means the percent of positive cases per test has gone down from 16.9 percent to 6.5 percent with now 381 confirmed cases and 5,857 tests administered.

Statewide, there were 3,803 confirmed cases in the first month of the virus with 28,486 tests administered. While the number of confirmed cases rose more drastically in the second month, increasing by 6,897 to 10,700, there were more than 130,000 tests administered in that span.

Now sitting at 138,103 tests administered statewide, meaning 7.7 percent of those tested have had a positive case, while 13.4 percent of those tested in the first month had positive results.

So far, 2.7 percent of Shelby County’s population has been tested, while 0.17 percent percent of the county’s population has had a positive test.

Statewide, 2.8 percent of the population has been tested, while 0.22 percent of the state’s population has had a positive case.

In that same span, the death toll has risen from 103 to 450 through two months, meaning there were 347 across the state in the second month alone. The percentage went from 2.7 percent of those with a positive case dying in the first month to 4.4 percent in the second month.

The county’s death toll has risen by 13 in the second month to 18, meaning 4.7 percent of those with a positive case have died. That’s up from 2.17 percent in the first month.

Of those who have passed away so far, 80.7 percent have been 65 or older, despite 63.88 percent of cases being in those between the ages of 25 and 64.

Mobile County still has the most number of confirmed cases with 1,545 to this point, while Jefferson County also has more than 1,000 cases with 1,199. Montgomery County is at 705, Marshall County is at 586 and Lee County is at 436. Tallapoosa, Chambers and Tuscaloosa counties also now have more than 300 cases with Tallapoosa at 338, Chambers at 324 and Tuscaloosa at 302.

In addition to that, Madison, Franklin and Baldwin have more than 200 confirmed cases. Franklin has 270 confirmed cases of the virus, while Madison has 259 and Baldwin has 231.

So far, 1,490 healthcare workers have contracted the virus, while 1,088 long-term care residents and 692 long-term care employees have tested positive.

In addition to that, 478 patients have been in the ICU, while 284 have been put on ventilators since the virus started in the state on March 13. There have also been 1,325 hospitalizations since the onset.

The first two months of the virus also saw confirmed cases in 15 residents and seven employees at the Columbiana Health and Rehabilitation facility. Since then, several have returned back home. In addition to that, nine residents and six employees at Select Rehab, Shelby Ridge in Alabaster also tested positive.

Since the outbreak started, positive cases were also confirmed featuring four local schools including two at Thompson High School, one at either Oak Mountain Intermediate or Elementary School, one at Helena High School and one at Calera High School. Both Helena and Calera students also possibly had contact with someone at the middle school.

It was confirmed that an employee at the Alabaster Chick-fil-A tested positive as did Montevallo pastor Ray Dunmyer of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and an employee at Montevallo City Hall.

The Alabaster Chick-fil-A has since reopened for takeout and drive-thru services after a thorough cleaning.

Testing for COVID-19 is now being done by appointment at UAB as well as Total Care 280 in the North Shelby area off U.S. 280, It’s About Time Urgent Care in Helena and Columbiana Clinic in Columbiana. You are urged to get tested only if you present symptoms of a fever, cough or shortness of breath, or have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.

UAB is encouraging you to call 205-975-1881 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. to describe your symptoms. They will then determine whether you present what could be COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they’ll set an appointment for you to get tested the next day.

If you think you have been exposed or have symptoms, please isolate and call your doctor or nearest medical facility for guidance or call the Alabama Department of Public Health hotline at 1-888-264-2256.

For more information about COVID-19, visit Alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.

To view an updated dashboard of confirmed cases and see testing sites, visit Alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7