Health officials urge public to wear masks after COVID-19 cases in Morgan County spike


DECATUR, Ala. – After a recent increase of COVID-19 cases in Morgan County, Judy Smith with the Alabama Department of Public Health stressed the importance of wearing masks.

“We are very concerned as health professionals about what’s going to happen with the July holidays, but we can take charge of that. You know, it is just wrong that we live in a city, in a state, in a nation that we have so much capability and yet we’re so resistant to wearing masks,” Smith said.

According to Smith, one in every 10 tested for COVID-19 end up in the hospital. She added about 40 percent of cases are found in young people.

Smith said 58 percent of the cases in Morgan County have occurred in the past seven days.

“We have seen upticks after every get-together that we’ve had. First, we opened, and things went up,” Smith said. “Then we had Memorial Day, and we had an uptick. Actually we had an uptick this past week, and we’re not absolutely sure where it’s from other than family get-togethers and gatherings.”

Alabama’s current safer at home order is scheduled to expire July 3. Smith said as health professionals, they’ll be surprised if it is lifted.

Wearing masks has resulted in a political divide in the country and Smith said that’s a mistake.

“This mask came across the ocean with a virus that we need to protect ourselves from. We’ve got to get past the political piece of it. I’m going to be honest with you, there are many people that I wish had a soundproof mask because I don’t like the rhetoric on either side. But all that said, it doesn’t belong to the donkeys, it doesn’t belong to the elephants, it belongs to protecting the people,” Smith said.

Mayor Tab Bowling said the council will discuss facial coverings during a special meeting Monday evening. He also encouraged residents to check on their elderly neighbors and to complete the census.

Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long said starting Tuesday, masks will be provided to people that don’t have one at the courthouse. He said people should try to take advantage of online services to avoid in-person contact.

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