Morgan County officials provide update on COVID-19

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – As Alabama continues the fight against COVID-19, numbers continue to trend in a positive direction. Officials in Morgan County came together to provide an update on the area Monday morning.

“It’s hard to believe that COVID and all that comes with it has been with us for a year now,” said Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling. “We’re encouraged to know that vaccines are rolling out at a faster pace and we’re thrilled to know that Johnson and Johnson’s one dose vaccine has been approved for distribution.”

Bowling said 13,667 total people have tested positive for the virus in Morgan County. The 14 day percent positivity rate continues to dwindle, now at 9.87%.

Decatur Morgan Hospital President Kelli Powers said she expects the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital will continue to fluctuate.

“We currently have 16 inpatients and I think it’s kind of up and down. So I think we’ll continue to see that,” said Powers. “I think we were down to 9 at one point.”

She adds that the rise in patients from last week could be due to people waiting a long time to get tested for the virus or to seek help.

“The sooner you come to the hospital and get care, the better your outcome is going to be,” said Powers.

Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health says they are back to giving first doses of the vaccine, and the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will eventually make the distribution quicker.

“The only downside really to that is the number of those that are due, a little less than 4 million doses that are due right now, that they’ll be getting out this week,” said Glenn.

And when those vaccines will make its way to North Alabama… the health department doesn’t know: “No, the allocation for the Johnson & Johnson has not been — we’ve not been given that information yet.”

Glenn says the demand for any kind of vaccine still remains high in groups 1A and 1B, so they are still unsure when more people will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Governor Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home order is set to expire this Friday, but Glenn says we can expect an update from the governor this week on whether or not it will be extended.

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