20200531_ent_virusupdate_p1

Brown

COVID-19 cases are still rising in Coffee County, but not at a rate that has alarmed EMA Director James Brown.

As of Friday afternoon, 224 people here have tested positive for the virus that grew into a pandemic in the past five months world-wide and the past three months in Alabama.

That’s not the number Brown is looking at. He’s more focused on the number of active cases.

“Our numbers of active cases are still in the same range,” Brown said. “So as new people are coming on, others are coming off. When you look at the 220 or whatever it’s sitting it, it looks bad. But when 160-something of them have come off …

“When I would be concerned is when the active cases start to spike, because that would mean we’d have to hospitalize more people, possibly. That was our whole thing behind flattening the curve. We wanted to lower that peak. As long as we don’t start peaking again, we’ll be good. Right now I’m not overly concerned.”

On Friday afternoon, the state’s dashboard data on the coronavirus listed Coffee County having 62 new cases in the last 14 days. Of course, the number of tests given — both across the state and in the county — has jumped considerably. More than one-third of the total tests given in the county have taken place in the past two weeks. Those 62 new cases came out of 611 tests here in the past 14 days.

In Alabama, the number of positive cases has been 16,823 in 208,883 total tests. In the past two weeks, 5,461 positive cases resulted from 74,118 total tests.

There has been one death attributed to the virus in Coffee County. In Alabama, that number is 605. The total number of hospitalizations in the state is 1,783 as of Friday afternoon. That number doesn’t include the number of active hospitalizations, which is considerably less.

Overall, 1,766 people in Coffee County have been tested with 224 positive cases.

“If you look, up until May we only had one testing site put up by ADPH in the county,” Brown said. “Now we have twice a week where we’re testing in Coffee County. That’s a good thing. That does account for some of the rise in numbers, but not all of it.”

The county EMA director said the guidelines issued at the outbreak of the pandemic will help now. He said more positive tests were expected when the economy started to reopen this month.

“The thing we need to do is have everybody still try to do social distancing as much as possible,” he said. “Wear masks when you can. No handshakes. All the things we’ve told everybody to do. We have to keep maintaining that so we don’t get those spikes.”

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