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New COVID-19 risk indicator shows improvement, but Ala. health leaders still concerned

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – This week, Governor Kay Ivey extended the mandatory face mask order until December 11 in part because of continued rising numbers of positive COVID cases.

But the latest Alabama Department of Public Health’s risk indicator shows improvement.

The latest statewide map is better. Last week, there were about 17 counties listed as very high risk of spread with the red designation. On Friday, red counties are down to eight.

Jefferson County is no longer listed as red for very high risk, but orange for high risk.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report for Alabama, based on last week’s numbers, shows fewer confirmed cases and a lower positivity rate around 7%.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris remains concerned. He says this week, the department saw an increase in numbers and the positivity rate is over 9% – almost 10%.

WBRC asked Dr. Harris why they’re seeing those increases. Harris said it’s not one thing.

“We know of a large outbreak due to a work release program in one county. We know of an outbreak associated with a wedding in one county. We heard about church related outbreaks. I think there is just a number of different reasons there is not a single explanation,” Harris said.

Again – Dr. Harris is concerned about the coming cold months forcing people inside and the holidays for seeing more spread. Harris said Alabamians can slow it, wearing masks and social distancing.

By the way – the health officer said flu reports are still low, about 1.5% – which is normal, but it’s early.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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