Nearly one-third of the people who’ve tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Alabama are no longer symptomatic.
In an exclusive phone interview with The Reporter on Friday afternoon, Dr. Karen Landers, a spokesperson for the ADPH, said 3,699 of the more than the 11,000 confirmed cases were either not symptomatic or were no longer symptomatic at the time of their case interview, which is typically taken with 24 hours of receiving test results. A county-by-county breakdown was not yet available.
“As you might imagine, we’re receiving lots of different,” Landers said. “We’re actually looking at the data and trying to refine it … so the number [of inactive cases] could actually be higher than that.”
In the coming days, Landers said she hoped a tracker showing the number of cases no longer symptomatic, which would be updated daily, could be added to the Alabama COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard visible at alabamapublichealth.gov. She said the only delay in releasing this information, including a county-by-county breakdown, as well as other statistics, was the arduous process of simplifying the data for universal understanding.
“Unless you’re a biostatistician, you’re probably not going to understand a lot of what we’re seeing,” she said. “Trying to share these numbers in a way that can be easily interpreted and not misleading is difficult… As an example, something we’ve had a hard time of relaying is that we’ve not had a person under 50 years old to die from the virus who did not have an underlying illness.”
As of Friday afternoon, there were a total of 11,216 cases confirmed across the state. At least 147,492 total tests had been administered. Since March 13, there have been 1,377 patients hospitalized; there have been 476 deaths.
Within the last 14 days, there have been 2,767 cases confirmed in Alabama. At least 81,576 tests have been taken.
To debunk a few conspiracy theories, Landers said the positive case numbers are not inflated. If a person tests positive, then goes back to a clinic after a 14-day quarantine and tests positive a second time, she said the results were not added to the confirmed case count. However, Landers did say it would be added to the total test count because a test was administered.
As a reminder, Landers also said the total tested count includes data from commercial and clinical labs, which are required by law to report all positive and all negative results to the ADPH. But, she said noncommercial testing locations were not reporting all their negative tests.
On occasion, a duplicate positive test result might slip in the positive count as a new case, but once the error is recognized it is immediately removed and the data is updated, she said.
As of Friday afternoon, the ADPH showed Marshall County with total of 606 confirmed cases and nine deaths; the total test count stood at 4,279. In DeKalb County, there have been 188 cases confirmed, 1,900 total tests reported and two deaths reported. Etowah County showed 199 cases confirmed, 3,116 total tests reported and 10 deaths. Blount County showed 45 cases confirmed and 1,099 total tests reported.