Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Alabama on March 13, state and local health officials have been unwilling to disclose much information about any of the patients they’ve identified.
Now that more than 50 residents in Mobile County have tested positive for the disease, the Mobile County Health Department is releasing some limited characteristics about patients to provide a better picture of who the disease is impacting locally.
“To honor our commitment of sharing information to the extent possible without inadvertently releasing individual information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, we will begin releasing characteristics of patients with COVID-19 daily,” MCHD epidemiologist Rendi Murphree said in a statement. “Due to HIPPA, we are not able to release the number of cases for ZIP Codes with less than 20,000 residents.”
According to the data MCHD has released so far, at least 12 of the 52 cases identified so far in Mobile County have led to confirmed hospitalizations, though there are 16 other cases still being investigated.
Most of the patients have been between the ages of 19 and 64 and only one — the county’s first confirmed case — has involved a child less than 19 years of age. Of the 52 local cases, 53 percent were reported in women and 44 percent were reported in men.
At the moment, the two geographic areas with the largest number of identified cases appear to be Tillman’s Corner and Spring Hill regions. Half of the confirmed cases so far have been reported by African Americans, with another 15 reported by whites. Those are in addition to 13 cases where the race of the patient remains unclear, according to MCHD.
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