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            Coronavirus cases rising slowly across Alabama in October: Week in review

            Confirmed coronavirus cases are on the rise in Alabama.

            The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 9,580 total new coronavirus cases in Alabama in the week ending Oct. 30, including 6,805 confirmed cases - the most confirmed cases in a week since the week ending August 14.

            The state now has 190,496 total virus cases since March, and is on pace to top 200,000 cases in just eight days.

            [Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

            The weekly confirmed coronavirus number has now increased in four consecutive weeks in Alabama. The 6,805 new confirmed cases this week represents a 43 percent increase over the week ending Oct. 2.

            This week’s total also included 2,775 probable cases, but that number was boosted by a backlog of 1,182 probable cases reported last Saturday, just one day after the state reported a separate backlog of more than 2,500 probable cases. Probable cases primarily include those found through antigen testing, and also those without any confirmed test but where the person has symptoms and has been in close contact with a confirmed case.

            Those back-to-back data dumps have played havoc with the state’s total virus case numbers over the past two weeks. The 7-day average for total virus cases skyrocketed, but the number was misleading. Many of the cases were old, but had gone unreported. And national media outlets reported Alabama’s as having a huge increase in cases.

            But that first backlog has now moved off of the rolling 7-day average, and the second backlog will fall off tomorrow - Alabama is closer to having a better idea of where it really stands in its fight with the virus, as the nation reported its highest ever daily new virus case count on Thursday.

            But even without the problems involving probable cases, Alabama’s confirmed cases are rising.

            [Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

            The 7-day average for confirmed cases has risen steadily since the start of October. On Friday, the average stood at 972, the highest it’s been in two months. The state added more than 1,000 confirmed cases three days this week, including nearly 1,200 on Thursday and Friday.

            Friday’s 1,183 confirmed cases was the highest single-day confirmed case count since Oct. 9.

            Coronavirus hospitalizations also continued to rise this week. Current hospitalizations - the number of patients in Alabama hospitals with confirmed virus cases - rose past 1,000 earlier this week for the first time since August. As of Friday afternoon, that number hadn’t updated on ADPH’s dashboard since Wednesday, when it showed 1,013 current virus inpatients.

            The state also reported 73 total virus deaths this week - the same number it reported in the previous week. That number includes 61 confirmed deaths - or deaths among people with confirmed virus cases.

            [Can’t see the chart? Click here.]

            These deaths are listed by the date each death was reported, not when they occurred. Because of the way virus deaths are reported, it often takes several weeks for a death to be reported as a coronavirus death. ADPH has a page on its dashboard showing deaths by date of death, but it can take weeks for deaths to show up on that chart.

            ADPH reports 2,932 people have died due to the coronavirus in Alabama since the pandemic began, and the state is on pace to top 3,000 deaths in a week.

            Where are Alabama’s new cases?

            Jefferson County, home to Birmingham, added 1,033 confirmed virus cases this week, by far the most of any Alabama county. It’s the first time since the week ending Sept. 4 Jefferson has added at least 1,000 cases in a week.

            Montgomery County added the second most confirmed cases with 381, and Madison County, home of Huntsville, added 364. Shelby County, just south of Jefferson, was fourth with 345 cases, and Morgan County, home of Decatur, rounded out the top five with 332 new confirmed cases this week.

            Morgan County added 118 cases on Friday alone, by far its highest ever single-day case count. It’s previous high for confirmed cases in a day was 69 on July 12. (It’s possible the 118 cases reported Friday included some old cases, though ADPH did not say that was the case.)

            You can see how many cases your county added this week in the table below.

            [Can’t see the table? Click here.]

            Do you have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at rarchibald@al.com, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. Read more Alabama data stories here.