Positive COVID cases down statewide, ADPH says

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health reports the positive testing rate for COVID-19 has declined statewide and says it is important to continue masking, social distancing and hand-washing to slow the spread.

Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said Friday’s preliminary positivity rate was 11.1 percent, down from Thursday’s 12.3 percent.

“What I believe, as indicator shows, is that the multiple activities that we are taking to reduce the spread of this disease, such as the social distancing, the respiratory hygiene and the use of the cloth face covering, is having an impact,” Landers said. “We do appear to be having a flattening, a minimal decline, but nevertheless, a decline in our numbers of hospitalization. So I do believe we’re going in the right direction with this, and I think it will be very important that we continue to move in this direction over the next several weeks.”

Hundreds of students across the Tennessee Valley were placed under quarantine after returning to school this month. Landers said the department is reviewing and revising school guidance as more students return to the classroom.

“At this point in time, given what we know, in terms of the reasons these students were placed in isolation and quarantine was not that students had SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, but rather had some symptoms that could be compatible with this,” Landers said. “And so we’re revisiting that so in order to ensure that school nurses have the best information possible and support from the medical community to be able to make the decisions that are appropriate for those school systems.”

Landers did not spell out how the revised guidelines would change.

As flu season nears, Landers reminded the public of the importance of getting a flu vaccine if eligible. She stressed that getting the vaccine does not give a person influenza.

ADPH said its dashboard experienced a reporting delay in new cases Friday morning due to a server issue. Landers said the department takes pride in accuracy and that they won’t present any information until the best data is available. As of 2 p.m. Friday, the daily COVID-19 updated data was still not available on the ADPH website.

Landers also noted a new measurement available on the site. The dashboard now breaks down cases for ages 0-4, 5-17 and 18-24.

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said new cases of coronavirus in Madison County have slowed to levels not seen since late June. He said cases are down 25 percent since last week and down almost 30 percent in the last 14 days.

Strong said throughout the Huntsville Hospital system, there are 168 inpatients being treated, with 62 in the ICU and 36 on ventilators. Huntsville Hospital has 97 inpatients, with 31 in the ICU and 21 on ventilators.

Athens-Limestone Hospital has 15 inpatients, seven in ICU and two on ventilators. Decatur-Morgan has 22 inpatients, with six in ICU and five on ventilators. Helen Keller has 16 inpatients, seven in ICU and five on ventilators. Marshall South has five inpatients, three in ICU and three on ventilators. Marshall North has six inpatients and two in ICU. Red Bay Hospital has one inpatient.

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