MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alabama has dropped to the lowest point since the earliest days of the pandemic, state statistics show.
Just 156 people statewide were being treated for the illness caused by the new coronavirus earlier this week, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. That was the least since late March 2020, when the same number were hospitalized as COVID-19 was just beginning to spread across the state.
In east Alabama, Regional Medical Center in Alabama hasn’t seen any new COVID-19 cases in more than a week. Dr. Raul Magadia, an infectious disease specialist, told WBRC-TV it was the first time in more than a year the hospital had gone so long without new patients sickened by the virus.
“Wednesday last week was our last patient. We discharged and we released our last patient in the COVID ward,” he said.
Nearly 3,000 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 in late January at the height of the latest wave, which health officials said was linked to the highly contagious omicron variant. Experts are hopeful that subsequent waves won’t be as bad because so many people have been vaccinated or gained immunity by contracting the illness.
About 19,100 people have died of COVID-19 in the state, giving Alabama the nation’s third-highest death rate from the illness at 391 fatalities for every 100,000 residents.
Over the last two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by 720, a decline of about 71%.
Meanwhile, the 7-day positivity rate is 2.4%. In January, it was about 50% in some parts of the state.