A look at the growing COVID numbers for Madison and Limestone counties
MADISON COUNTY – As the more contagious Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread, health experts and elected officials are pleading with people to get vaccinated. They point at growing COVID numbers and warn conditions could get a lot worse in the weeks ahead for those who continue to resist the vaccine.
Currently, state hospitals are treating roughly 500 COVID patients, far fewer than January’s peak of 3,000, before widespread vaccinations became available, but up substantially from the 166 hospitalizations a month ago.
Where does Madison County stand at this point? According to Huntsville Hospital Health Systems, there has been a bump in local COVID patients within the past month but numbers are still relatively low at this point.
Throughout the Huntsville Hospital Health System’s footprint, there has been an increase from 36 patients with COVID on June 23 to 78 COVID patients on Friday, July 23. This includes hospitals in Madison, Limestone, Morgan, Colbert and Franklin counties. Madison County alone has seen an increase from 16 COVID patients to 38. Four of those are at Madison Hospital, which rose from 3 to 10 over the past 30 days.
Currently, there are five patients on ventilators throughout the entire Huntsville Hospital Health System, the same number as a month ago (see charts below). There are two patients in Madison County on ventilators, down one from a month ago. None are at Madison Hospital.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting that Madison County has seen an increase in new COVID cases of 493 out of 5,703 people who were tested within the past two weeks (see graph below). The increase peaked on July 19 with 66 new cases reported that day. It has since climbed down a little with 20 new cases being reported Thursday.
Over 165,797 people in Madison County have received one or more doses of the vaccine.
In Limestone County, there has been 150 new cases of COVID within the past two weeks. That is out of 1,401 people who were tested during that time period. It peaked on July 18 with 19 new cases reported that day. It too has since started climbing down, with only three new cases reported on Thursday.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) currently has Madison and Limestone counties labeled as “very high risk” counties for the spread of COVID. It also has the rest of North Alabama, along with most of the other counties in the state, in the same “very high risk” category.
According to the ADPH, calculations for each county’s risk of COVID-19 spread in the community is based on number of new cases each day. If the number of cases is staying the same or is increasing, the category will be “very high risk”.