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Alabama has highest COVID case positivity rate in the U.S.

Overall Level of Community Transmission - Past 7 Days
Overall Level of Community Transmission - Past 7 Days(Alabama Dept. of Public Health)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 2:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 2:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Sarah Nafziger, M.D., vice president of UAB Hospital Clinical Services, said Thursday that Alabama now has the highest COVID positivity rate in the country.

Nafziger said the reasons are the Delta variant and Alabama’s low vaccination rate.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Alabama’s percent positive rate is 21.5% as of July 29, 2021. The statewide percentage of Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) that were positive during the past seven days was 21.5. According to ADPH, 49,661 COVID-19 tests were performed in the past 7 days in Alabama.

The percent positive number is something state health leaders keep an eye on because it paints a picture of what’s happening with COVID-19. Assistant state health officer Dr. Karen Landers says that number must go down now for us to start getting a handle on the situation.

“That is really in my opinion an unsustainable number. We must intervene. We must really look individually how we can protect ourselves. We must really take advantage of the mitigation standards that I hope none of us would have to back to.” Dr. Landers with ADPH said.

This is how ADPH describes this data: “Laboratories are required by law to report both positive and negative COVID-19 test results to ADPH. To accurately calculate the percentage of positive test results, both numerator and denominator data are needed. Only nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) methods are included in this calculation. A NAAT is a type of viral diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NAATs detect genetic material (nucleic acids) of the virus. The date is assigned by the collection date and represents the percent that were positive during the past seven days as of that date. Data are preliminary and subject to change.”

Nafziger said people are starting to fill up hospitals again and 97 percent of the people who are being treated for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

The average age of admitted COVID-19 patients is about 55 years old. She said the difference is Alabama’s older population, 65 and older, took the vaccine. That is keeping them out of the hospital.

Nafziger said almost every one of the patients in the hospital who did not get the vaccine, now said they wish they had.

Nafziger said if case numbers continue to grow, UAB doctors will have to cancel or postpone elective procedures because they will need the beds.

“To me it’s like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. We have a parachute, why would you jump out of an airplane without a parachute?” Asked Nafziger.

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