With 800 new COVID-19 cases in a day, Alabamians urged to wear masks, stay home

With 800 new COVID-19 cases in a day, Alabamians urged to wear masks, stay home
Alabama saw more than 800 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday alone. (Source: WBRC)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - With more than 800 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Thursday, the Alabama Department of Public Health is again urging residents to stay home, if possible.

“COVID-19 spreads quickly, and your actions affect others," said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. "More than ever since the pandemic began, we need people to social distance, wear face coverings in public, and practice good respiratory hygiene.”

It was the most number of cases recorded in a single day since they began tracking cases in March.

“COVID-19 is still with us in the state of Alabama and we have to do all we can to reduce this risk and reduce the transmission of this virus,” said Assistant State Health Officer Karen Landers. “The message can be wearying and it can be a situation where people are tired of hearing the same message over and over, but this is my prescription, this is what I have right now to reduce the spread of this virus and until we have a vaccine.”

The state has seen outbreaks in the workplace, in long-term care facilities, and as a result of large gatherings, such as those that happened recently during Memorial Day, and as community transmission of the pandemic continues, ADPH says it’s safer to be at home.

Landers said ADPH does not believe the recent protests are a contributing factor to the rise in cases, but instead it continues to mostly be linked to peoples’ close association with family members, partners, and co-workers who are positive.

“We know that Memorial Day was a couple weeks ago and we do believe that that has been a contributor to some of our cases, and then finally we have ongoing testing in the state of Alabama, and of course the more testing that you do the more cases that you are going to see,” Landers said.

She said they are continuing to monitor healthcare systems across the state.

“In different parts of the state hospitals are able to manage the case load that they have for COVID-19, as well as carry out their other duties and some other parts of the state there are some hospital systems that are experiencing strain,” said Landers.

As of Friday, Montgomery is now just 80 cases behind Mobile for the top number of cases in the state. The capital city has 550 new cases confirmed since Sunday.

Alabama’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard

More than 23,000 Alabamians have gotten the virus so far, 764 have died, and more than 2,200 have been hospitalized. While more than 13,500 are presumed to have recovered, ADPH says many people have experienced short, as well as long-term complications.

“We need to be vigilant to try to reduce the spread of this, because this is still a deadly virus.” said Landers.

Last week, ADPH experienced a backlog in the number of cases and tests reported when their national surveillance pipeline became overwhelmed due to a large increase in the volume of COVID-19 laboratory results. This has since been fixed.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.