The State of Alabama continues to experience increases in the number of COVID-19 cases. While there has been a recent decline in the percentage of persons who test positive, the state is currently facing a surge that has overwhelmed Alabama’s ability to provide test results within the two- to three-day turnaround time needed to expeditiously make quarantine and care decisions, according to a Friday afternoon news release from the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The “turnaround time,” which is the time from when specimens are received in the laboratory to reporting of the results, is increasing due to a number of factors, including supply chain issues with test reagents, an overall increased demand for tests nationwide, and in some cases, increased numbers of unnecessary tests.
The current turnaround time for most COVID-19 testing performed in Alabama by commercial laboratories and the state laboratory is now averaging about 7 days.
"ADPH recognizes that this is too long and asks for consumers and physicians and other providers to help in making sure that those who are most vulnerable become the focus for testing: the elderly, those in congregate living settings, healthcare personnel, those with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and those with underlying medical conditions that place them most at risk," the release stated.
Retesting to obtain negative results before an employee is allowed to return to work is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by ADPH. In addition, all persons with symptoms and all persons with a known exposure to a COVID-19 positive case should quarantine for at least 14 days. A negative test does not eliminate this requirement for quarantine when the person is a close contact to a COVID-19 positive case or remains symptomatic without another diagnosis.
For specific information of Isolation and Quarantine Guidance visit alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/cov-timeframes-isolation-quarantine.pdf for non-healthcare personnel and at alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/cov-timeframes-isolation-quarantine-hcp.pdf for healthcare personnel.
As of Friday night, 85,278 cumulative cases reported to ADPH since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, an increase of 1,783 in the last 24 hours.
In the last 14 days, ADPH is reporting there have been 21,772 new confirmed cases and 165,327 tested — decreases from Thursday's numbers.
Additionally, there are 2,445 probable cases in the state.
According to ADPH's website, probable cases are the total number of patients who have had close contact with a confirmed case, have symptoms meeting clinical criteria of COVID-19 and have no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.
Tallapoosa County added 17 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, now at 798 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are also now 47 probable cases in Tallapoosa County and one probable death. ADPH is still reporting 78 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19. ADPH's 14-day count-specific data shows Tallapoosa County has seen 110 new cases in the last two weeks.
Coosa County is still at 89 cumulative cases and two confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There are now seven probable cases and no probable deaths. There have been 20 new cases in the last two weeks in Coosa County, according to ADPH.
Elmore County added 30 new cases in the last day, now at 1,544 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 35 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. There are now 60 probable cases in Elmore County and zero probable deaths. ADPH's 14-day county-specific data shows Elmore County has seen 338 new cases — a decrease from Thursday's report — in the last two weeks.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been 687,022 tests performed throughout the state, according to ADPH.
Statewide, there have been 1,531 deaths due to COVID-19 and 49 probable deaths, according to ADPH.
Confirmed and probable deaths represent patients who have a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Confirmed deaths have a laboratory confirmation of the disease while probable deaths have no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.
According to ADPH's presumed recoveries category, which is updated weekly, 35,401 people statewide have presumably recovered from COVID-19.
"Cases are presumed recovered if it has been 14 days or more since the case tested positive if they were not hospitalized, or if it has been 32 days or more since the case tested positive if they were hospitalized or if hospitalization was unknown," ADPH wrote in a Facebook post. "All deaths excluded."
There have been 10,521 total hospitalizations across the state since March 13, according to ADPH. This number is updated each week day at 3 p.m., according to ADPH.
ADPH's dashboard is updated around 10 a.m. each day and Tallapoosa Publishers publishes a report detailing all information once each day.
Here is the latest information in all counties as of 8 p.m. Friday: