More than 2,800 COVID-19 cases in Alabama; 78 have died

Calhoun County at 54 cases, St. Clair at 37, Talladega 30, Cleburne 12, according to Public Health Department

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More than 2,800 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in Alabama by Wednesday, and at least 78 people in the state have died after testing positive for the coronavirus that causes the disease, officials reported.

At least 333 people have been hospitalized in Alabama since March 13 with the illness caused by the new coronavirus, according to the state’s Public Health Department.Regional Medical Center in Anniston said on Thursday it had a fourth patient, after announcing its first three confirmed COVID-19 cases earlier this week.

The Public Health Department’s count of positive tests for the virus by Wednesday had risen to 2,838. The total in Calhoun County was 54 known cases, 37 in St. Clair County, and to 30 in Talladega County. Cleburne County’s total was 12. 

Of the 78 people in Alabama known to have died after testing positive for COVID-19, Public Health says it had confirmed 48 of those died because of the disease. There were no reported deaths in local counties as of Thursday. 

Public Health this week began releasing some demographic data on the disease’s impact in Alabama. Of the 2,505 cases in the latest demographic update, 48.7 percent were in white patients, and 37 percent in black patients. Just more than 21 percent of the known cases were in people 65 or older, but 62.5 percent of the confirmed deaths were in people of that age. 

No information on patients who’ve recovered has been reported by Public Health so far.

The known cases statewide come from at least 20,605 tests, the Public Health Department reported.

Gov. Kay Ivey, in an attempt to slow the disease's spread in Alabama, last week ordered residents to stay at home beginning 5 p.m. the next day, through April 30. There are exceptions for "essential activities," but the governor urged people to take the order seriously, and officials said it carried the force of law.

"I am convinced earlier efforts at social distancing have not been enough," Ivey said at a news conference in Montgomery. "And that’s why we’re taking this more drastic step."

COVID-19 Alabama case count

A graph showing the growth in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, as reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Much of the state, nation and world is adjusting to increasingly dramatic action to halt the spread of the new coronavirus and the illness it causes. In Washington, experts at a White House briefing on the disease last week said that even with widespread limits on people’s movements and on businesses and schools, the United States can expect to see between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths from COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Thursday, at least 14,696 people in the U.S. had died of the disease.

Layoffs and other losses have hit workers in many industries, as people heed warnings to remain at home as much as possible. Tens of thousands of Alabama workers have filed unemployment claims over the last few weeks, according to the state’s Labor Department.