WATCH: Decatur and Morgan County officials give COVID-19 update

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DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling and representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health and Decatur-Morgan Hospital gave a community update on COVID-19 in Morgan County Monday morning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Morgan County has seen a total of 15,200 COVID-19 cases. That number is up by 259 cases since just last week.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the county’s 14-day positivity rate is at 17.6%.

With the number of cases rising in the area, the number of people getting the COVID-19 vaccine is also rising. 38,449 people have completed vaccine series in Morgan County.

“We’re seeing a slight increase in those who are vaccinated and for that, we say thank you,” said Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling.

Even with more people getting the shot, some people are still struggling with the virus at Decatur-Morgan Hospital. Chief Nursing Officer Anita Walden says they are caring for 13 people right now, one of whom is in the ICU.

“Our average age of patients in the hospital today is 60,” said Walden. “These are not very old and we actually have had those in their 20s and 30s. We have some today.”

Walden adds that two of those at the hospital actually received the vaccine.

“Just because you’ve had your vaccination doesn’t mean your safe from getting COVID, particularly the new variant,” she said.

“Those folks that have been vaccinated, if they do test positive, what we call a breakthrough case, those people tend to have very mild symptoms,” said Michael Flynn, the ADPH Northern District Assistant Administrator. “So you can either be very very sick, or mildly sick, or not at all, and so the vaccination is definitely our key.”

Though he says the shot is key, he adds that a majority of those in the county have yet to get it.

The vaccination rate for those 18-29 is 25.9% and 3/4 are not vaccinated. Flynn says 37% of those aged 30-49 have received the vaccine, meaning around 2/3 are not vaccinated. 74% of those 65+ have finished the vaccine series, yet 1/4 are not vaccinated.

“So if you are in a large group of people, the vast majority of those folks are probably not vaccinated, so you need to protect yourself,” said Flynn. “Protect your family and protect yourself.”

Officials continue to urge residents to get the vaccine and to wear masks.

Because COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Mayor Bowling announced officials will again be holding weekly COVID-19 briefings.

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