Alabama hit an all-time high this week in its seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases, as the state neared the two-week mark since Governor Kay Ivey reopened most businesses. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Thursday “We’ve had this week a couple of the highest days that we’ve seen in number of cases, and that’s certainly concerning to us,” – he added “…some of that can reflect increases in the numbers of tests being performed – but, I certainly don’t think that accounts for all of it.” New cases topped 400 on Thursday for the fifth time in the last seven days.
Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues were allowed to open on May 11th but that re-opening has been followed by a steady rise in new cases. Alabama added nearly 700 cases Tuesday, May 26th, following the Memorial Day weekend. It’s unclear if some of those results were delayed in being reported because of the holiday, but the running seven-day average would be unaffected. Dr. Rachael Lee, a hospital epidemiologist at UAB said she is concerned about the continued rise. “Part of that (rise in cases) may be due to relaxing some restrictions,” she said Thursday. “Part of it may be not wearing masks in public, or having larger events, which is what we would be concerned about from Memorial Day weekend.” Earlier in the epidemic, new coronavirus cases decreased following statewide restrictions.
New coronavirus cases in Alabama started falling around 10 days after Governor Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on April 4th. The seven-day average fell to a low of 171 new cases April 30th, the same day Ivey replaced the stay-at-home order with a modified safer-at-home order.