Alabama is in the midst of its worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began. The 7-day average for new cases soared past 3,000 late last week, and is up to nearly 3,400 now.
Those numbers have been boosted slightly by data delays at the Alabama Department of Public Health, as small labs across the state struggle to report their numbers in a timely fashion. The state reported more than 4,000 new cases on Tuesday, but around 1,500 of them were from earlier this month, ADPH said.
But cases are still very high here, and there is one metric that is less affected by the data dumps – positivity rate.
Alabama’s current 7-day positivity rate – or the percent of coronavirus tests that have come back positive over the last week – stands at 33.8 percent. That’s down slightly from around 36.4 percent last week, but it’s still a very high number, and remains among the highest in the nation.
Within Alabama, several counties have even higher positivity rates. None was higher Tuesday than Fayette County, where nearly 57 percent of the 242 tests reported over the last seven days came back positive. The high rate in Fayette County, which sits halfway between Jefferson County and the Mississippi border, has more to do with its relatively low testing numbers than with high case counts. It is averaging just less than 20 new cases per day, to go along with 35 tests per day.
But six Alabama counties, all in north Alabama, are currently seeing positivity rates higher than 50 percent, and some have much higher case counts.
Morgan County, home of Decatur, has a 7-day positivity rate of nearly 52 percent, and is currently averaging 124 new virus cases per day. Marshall County, just to the east, is in a similar situation. Its positivity rate is around 54 percent, and the 7-day average there is 121 new cases per day.
Meanwhile, Barbour County, in south Alabama along the Georgia border, has the lowest positivity rate in Alabama at just 6.6 percent. Barbour County has performed an average of 110 tests per day over the last week, and has found just around 7 new cases per day in that time.
You can see the 7-day positivity rate for every Alabama county in the map below:
[Can’t see the map? Click here.]