Southern Alabama has the highest COVID positivity rates in the state
The 12 counties in Alabama with the highest COVID-19 positivity rates – the percentage of tests taken that come back positive – are all in the far south of the state, as the Gulf Coast faces to a regional virus wave caused by the delta variant.
The state as a whole is in the midst of a great epidemic. The 7-day average of new reported cases of the virus surpassed 2,500 on Tuesday, the first time it has been this high since February 1. And Alabama has the highest positivity rate in the country – 22.1% of tests reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health. over the past seven days have come back positive.
Mobile and Baldwin counties – Alabama’s only coastal counties – have been at the forefront of the wave. These are the only counties in the state to currently add at least 100 new cases per 100,000 people per day. Both are also in the top 10 for positivity, with rates above 30%, although neither is # 1.
[Can’t see the map? Click here.]
Dale County in the Wiregrass area has the highest positivity rate in the state at 41.1%. This is almost double the rate for the state as a whole. Several neighboring counties in southeastern Alabama also top the list. Neighboring Henry County comes in second with a 38.9% positivity rate.
The positivity rate is a key metric to measure the pandemic. Using this number can help compare outbreaks over time and in different areas where tests may not be at the same level.
Among Alabama’s largest counties – those with at least 100,000 residents – Mobile and Baldwin currently have the highest positivity rates. Almost 35% of viral tests done in Mobile County in the past seven days have come back positive. The rate in Baldwin County was 30.8%. But Houston County, home to Dothan and another Wiregrass County, was just behind at 30.7%.
None of Alabama’s other large counties currently have positivity rates above 28%, and most have rates below the state average of 22.1%.
[Can’t see the table? Click here.]
Jefferson County, the state’s most populous county and home to Birmingham, has the second-lowest positivity rate of the largest counties in Alabama at 16.6%. Morgan County, home of Decatur in northern Alabama, had the lowest at 15.3%. Madison County, where Huntsville is located, is the third lowest at 16.9%.
Jefferson and Madison are also the most vaccinated of the large counties in Alabama – nearly 38% of the total population of each are fully vaccinated. Houston, Baldwin, and Mobile counties all rank in the bottom five for immunization rates among Alabama’s largest counties.