AlaHA Snapshot 4.5.20

Download PDF version here.

Links in this article:
AIMS Map and Regional Coordinator contact information
Stay at Home Order frequently asked questions (Spanish version)
Daily FEMA advisory
Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19  Dashboard

Link to confirmed cases and testing sites

AIMS Reporting – Data is requested three times a day as follows: 8:00 a.m. bed availability and ventilator use; 12:00 noon bed availability and ventilator use AND PPE needs, both current and projected for the next 30-days; 8:00 p.m bed availability and ventilator use. The ADPH asks that you not follow any guidance you may be given to the contrary with regard to reporting into AIMS.

IMPORTANT – While you are reporting urgent and immediate needs through AIMS, it is important for you to also contact your ADPH Emergency Preparedness Regional Coordinator for assistance with these needs.  Their role in helping to locate resources locally through a variety of sources is significant and complimentary to statewide efforts in responding to urgent needs.  Map and Regional Coordinator contact information 

More information on Stay at Home Order – The Alabama Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the Governor’s office, has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Stay at Home Order issued on Friday (Spanish version).

FEMA Daily Updates – Attached is an advisory, along with some daily briefing points, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  We will continue to share these and will post them on the AlaHA website hospital page.

The Dashboard Numbers: Don’t let them confuse you – There have been a number of questions asked about the statistics shown on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s COVID-19  Dashboard.  This confusion comes primarily from the public and from media reports as new information is added to the dashboard.   As the outbreak continues, and is likely to worsen in the coming weeks, we wanted to provide information to help as you communicate with your community.

Keep in mind, all of the numbers reported below (with the exception of hospitalizations) are based on the individual’s county of residence.  In other words, if someone is tested in your county, but lives in another county, that person would be included in the other county’s totals.

Confirmed Cases: This is fairly obvious in that it is the number of positive cases from labs performing the COVID-19 tests.  All labs, including all commercial labs, are required by law to report these to ADPH; however there has been lag time in reporting due to some commercial labs taking 8-10 days to return results and report to ADPH.

Total Tested: In addition to reporting positive COVID-19 results, all labs are required to report all test results, including those that resulted in a negative.  However, especially early on, most commercial labs did not report negative results, and there is still a question as to whether all of them are doing so currently.  The total tested number does reflect all tests performed by the ADPH state lab.

“Reported Deaths” and “Died from Illness”:  In addition to the number of tests performed, these numbers are perhaps the most questioned, and both are important.

  • Reported COVID deaths are determined/reported according to the information from the official certification of an individual’s death.  CDC guidelines on this are as follows:
  • COVID-19 death should be reported if patient has tested positive, or in the absence of testing, if the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty.
  •  Died from Illness – Meaning COVID-19 death.  The ADPH is required to follow the same methods for confirming COVID-19 deaths as other all states before adding them to the official COVID-19 death total.  Investigation and review of the certifications of death can take a little time, so there will be a lag time between a “reported death” and “died from illness.”  This is prudent in having accurate information on the cause of death.

Total Hospitalized: This category is obvious for confirmed cases, but it does not capture inpatient persons under investigation (PUIs).  Additionally, the number may not reflect total hospitalizations as this could be a rapidly changing number.  It would be reasonable to assume this number is somewhat underreported, and lag times are likely as hospitals are overwhelmed with paperwork, limited staffing and increased patient activity requiring appropriate deployment of resources for patient care.

The dashboard also now includes county-by-county totals of confirmed cases, number of tests, reported and confirmed deaths.  This is listed on the left side of the dashboard.  All of the same information explained above should be considered as you review the county-level statistics.

Most important and critical for your community to understand – a low number of confirmed cases likely means there has not been much testing possible in that community.  Every community should assume that the real number of COVID-19 cases are greater than what is reflected on the Dashboard, especially in suburbs and rural areas where access to test sites has been limited due to the availability of specimen collection kits.

The bottom line:  Patient care is the paramount focus during this time, and everyone, including ADPH, hospitals, labs and individual providers, are doing all they can to provide information that is accurate and responsible.