HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Madison County health officials said about two-thirds of the county’s COVID-19 cases since March were reported within the past few two to three weeks.
Crestwood Medical Center CEO Dr. Pam Hudson said the increase in cases is likely due to the reopening of the economy, July 4th gatherings and failure to wear masks and social distance as much as possible.
But Hudson said the Huntsville Hospital system has seen a decline in hospitalizations across the region since mask orders went into effect in the past two weeks.
“Substantial masking compliance should work,” Husdon said. “We’ve said that from the very beginning. So we can expect to see the number of cases go down, and indeed, the last three days we have seen declines in cases, number of hospitalizations go down, and there is plenty of evidence now to support mask compliance as being an effective tactic.”
Hudson also addressed new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which recommends following a symptom-based rather than test-based strategy to limit unnecessary isolation for COVID-19 patients. Positive patients can stop isolating 10 days after experiencing symptoms if they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and don’t have any other symptoms.
“Multiple tests are not helpful. If you had one test, don’t go back and have another one and then another one. You should be in close communication with your primary care physician to make reasonable use of the testing supplies we have. And the good news is, if we are reasonable about that, we will have enough,” Hudson said.
Huntsville-area school leaders announced Wednesday morning schools will begin the new year remotely for the first nine weeks. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said districts are doing what they can to adapt and prevent another spike.
“Everybody wants school to go back. We want to go back to normal, we want to be normal. But unfortunately, we’re not in normal times,” Battle said. “We’re having to adapt, we’re having to evolve. We’re evolving our schools to where we can actually do education, but we’re gonna have to do it from the homes for a little while. Our educators looked at this very closely trying to figure out how do we bring large numbers with children together, and how do we make sure, especially in the middle of a spike, how do we make sure we don’t reignite that spike to happen again.”