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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle considered Cinco de Mayo to be two steps forward and three steps back for the city as area leaders continue to urge the community to abide by recommended guidelines.

Battle said his office received complaints and pictures of parties of people celebrating Tuesday.

“We have passed those along to natural resources, who will also pass them along to the city attorney and our local community resource officers in our police department, who will go out and make sure that people in those pictures understand what it is … where we are in this process, and understand people should not be getting together without masks, without the six-foot separation and they should not be open at this time,” Battle said.

He reminded the public that practicing social distancing, sanitizing, and staying-in will help protect others from getting sick with COVID-19

Battle added there was an increase of 1,500 cases across the state this week. Madison County has had 14 new cases reported. The mayor said the community does not want a spike here, and he expressed concern that one large gathering could cause that spike.

As of Wednesday morning, Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said there are eight COVID-19 in-patients, five at Huntsville Hospital, two at Crestwood Hospital and one at Madison Hospital. Thirteen in-patients are reported in the region, mostly at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield and Marshall Medical Center South in Boaz.

Spillers addressed the recent uptick in cases in Marshall and Franklin counties. He said some of those cases are new while others are old testing that’s just now being reported.

Testing continues to grow, according to Spillers. To date, he said over 7,200 patients have been tested in Madison County and 11,700 across the region. He said positive rates have remained consistent, with 2.9 percent in Madison County and 3.16 percent in the region.

Spillers said a number we need to start looking at is the current number of cases in communities and the state.

“We’re looking at a cumulative number now that’s been generated over 50 some off days. If you look at Madison County, that number is 238 today. Many of those 238 have now gotten well and that’s not the current number of people that are positive in the community,” Spillers said. “Although there may be many asymptomatic people in the community that are positive and don’t know it, but, of those 238, the majority of those people have gotten well now and are no longer positive.

“So again, that’s one of the things we have to look at the bright side of this and we’re continuing to have a lot of people get well and the number of people, at least in our community, that are being identified on a daily basis are probably lower than the number of people that are actually getting well, and no longer positive from COVID. So that speaks highly of our community and what we’ve done here to minimize the spread of the disease.”