Decatur officials warn with more COVID-19 cases, comes more deaths

Decatur

DECATUR, Ala. — City of Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling, Decatur-Morgan Hospital President Kelli Powers, and Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in Morgan County on Monday.

Mayor Bowling said in the past week alone, 620 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Morgan County, bringing the total to 18,775. As Powers says, unfortunately with more cases, comes more deaths.

“I hate to tell you, but we’ve had a lot of deaths since last week… I know we had five or six in one day,” she said. Seven people died since Saturday morning.

Powers saying even with the those deaths, the number of people dealing with the COVID-19 virus in the hospital remains the same as last week, at 74 inpatients.

“74 inpatients, three PUIs, 14 in ICU, 12 of those are on the ventilator,” said Powers. “Right now, we’re holding ten in our emergency room. Two of those need ICU beds. Five of those need medical beds and three of those are psych patients.”

There is discussion around statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations hitting a plateau, but Powers says she hasn’t noticed a plateau in Morgan County. She believes the number of deaths has brought down the number of hospitalizations.

“We were up to 81, was my total, but when you have 7 people die, that brings the number down,” she adds. Powers says when the area begins to plateau, it will first be seen in the amount of testing.

Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health spoke on the statewide aspect:

“Starting around July the 1st is when the hospitalizations really started shooting up and it continued,” said Glenn. “It was a dramatic increase all the way up until about maybe around two weeks ago when it really kind of leveled off and we’ve seen a decline statewide over the last five to seven days but again, as Kelli mentioned… We’ve had 261 deaths in the last seven days so unfortunately, that decline at the hospitalization rate may be those people passing away right now.”

Glenn said 50 people in north Alabama have died in the last seven days due to COVID-19.

They are continuing to urge residents to get vaccinated, especially with all of the upcoming holidays and football season.

“Vaccines are readily available,” said Glenn. “Talk to people you know who have gotten the vaccine and have had a good experience with it, talk to your healthcare professionals.”

43,150 residents have completed their vaccine series as of September 13, but that is still only about a third of residents. Powers said, “I want to get the word out that this is something we need to get more vaccines in people’s arms to keep them from dying.”

Glenn announced a new COVID-19 testing center to help with the demand for testing in Morgan County. It is located in the Decatur Fire & Police Training Center at 4119 Old Highway 31. They will begin testing on September 15 and are set to be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are not necessary.

For the latest numbers in your area, visit the ADPH COVID-19 Dashboard.

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