State officials monitoring COVID-19 spike in Morgan County


Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing at the Brightpoint Health and UJA-Federation of New York free pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) testing site on May 8, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 8, 2020 approved the first diagnostic test for coronavirus using saliva samples collected at home. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Officials in Morgan County reported positive COVID-19 cases in the county increased by 80 percent in the past two weeks. Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health attributed the spike in cases to exposure to the virus in facilities.

“We know in Morgan County, that we’ve had some exposures in entities or facilities that has increased the numbers of cases there,” Landers said, without identifying the locations.

Decatur Morgan Hospital has 16 COVID-19 in-patients according to Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. Twelve additional patients are under investigation for the virus.

Landers added just because a large entity has a confirmed case, it doesn’t mean everyone is at risk.

“Now I get asked a lot of times about a large entity where perhaps a person has had a case. We have to remember not everyone is not going to develop COVID-19 and not everyone has the same level of exposure,” Landers said. “We’re really talking about people that are either household, intimate partner or close contacts where there’s less than six feet of space for greater than 15 minutes. It’s really all about the time and the exposure to the person.”

Strong reported as of Friday, Huntsville Hospital has seven in-patients and Madison Hospital has two. No patients are on ventilators. Marshall Medical Center has three inpatients and Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield has four.

Landers said a backlog of lab results overwhelmed their electronic disease surveillance system. She said other states have experienced the same issue. Landers stressed the problem hasn’t stopped their investigative process into COVID-19 cases, but it has slowed it down. She said the problem has been resolved.

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