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COVID-19 hospitalizations remain steady, local virus cases rise

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain steady, local virus cases rise

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COVID-19 hospitalizations remained steady at East Alabama Medical Center during the weekend, however, hospital officials expect to see a rise in patients in the coming days.

“With the continued increase of new cases in the area, we’d expect that hospitalizations will increase as well in the coming days, just as it has done during previous community case increases,” John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman, said. “Hospitals nationwide are expressing concern over their current number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and the major holidays approaching.”

There were 33 COVID-19 patients hospitalized from Friday to Monday and 32 patients hospitalized on Tuesday at EAMC. Additionally, six ventilators were in use on Tuesday, the most in a month, according to the hospital system.

Lee County saw 157 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Monday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). There were 4,599 confirmed cases and 2,679 probable cases in the county for a combined total of 7,278 virus cases on Tuesday.

Lee County’s average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day during the past two weeks also rose from about 33.1 cases on Friday to about 38.3 cases on Tuesday, according to ADPH data.

EAMC also saw its COVID-19 testing positivity rate rise last week. The hospital system tested 365 people through it 334-528-SICK hotline, of which 46 were positive for the virus. The positivity rate was 12.6 percent, up from the previous week’s positivity rate of 10.5 percent, according to hospital data.

EAMC’s 46 new cases last week account for about 17.5 percent of the 263 new COVID-19 cases reported in Lee County from Nov. 9-13, EAMC added.

Auburn University

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported at Auburn University remained steady last week.

The university said that 23 new virus cases were self-reported to the school during the week ending on Nov. 15, one less case than the previous week’s total. The school also reported a 0.83 percent positivity rate among those tested through its voluntary sentinel testing, according to data released Tuesday afternoon.

Of the 23 virus cases, 22 were reported on Auburn’s main campus and one was reported at Auburn’s Montgomery Pharmacy campus. There have been 1,467 reported COVID-19 cases since Aug. 17, according to Auburn University data.

The university said 24 campus community members self-reported positive COVID-19 tests during the week ending on Nov. 8. It also reported a 0.48 percent positivity rate during the same timeframe among those tested through sentinel testing.

Auburn University tested 727 people through the sentinel testing program last week, the highest total tested in a week. A total of 5,065 Auburn students, faculty and staff have been tested through the program since it began.

Data provided Tuesday represents students, employees and contractors who self-reported positive test results to Auburn University and those who tested positive through the AU GuideSafe Sentinel testing, according to the school's COVID-19 data dashboard.

Auburn University announced Monday that it is making operational changes in response to the rise of COVID-19 in the Lee County community, Alabama and throughout the country.

Events with more than 50 attendees are no longer permitted. However, previously approved events with more than 50 attendings, including graduation, are still permitted. Also, all university travel is suspended, according to an email sent to Auburn University employees.

The changes remain in effect through Monday, Jan. 4.

Schools

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported by Alabama school systems to the ADPH and the Alabama State Department of Education rose by more than 500 cases last week. Many local counties also saw a rise in cases.

Auburn City Schools reported 22 cases, Lee County Schools reported 14 cases, Opelika City Schools reported 13 cases and Phenix City Schools reported 11 cases, according to the Alabama’s K-12 COVID-19 School Dashboard.

Lanett City Schools reported less than five cases, fewer than the previous week’s total of five cases. Tallapoosa County Schools and Tallassee City Schools each reported less than five cases, similar to the previous week’s total.

Chambers County Schools reported seven cases, the same amount as the previous week. Russell County reported no cases, down from the previous week’s total of less than five cases, according to the dashboard.

Macon County did not report any information to the department of education.

A total of 1,592 cases were reported to ADPH and the department of education last week, up from the previous week’s total of 1,056 cases.

Local numbers

Many east Alabama counties saw a significant rise in new COVID-19 cases reported during the weekend, according to ADPH.

ADPH reported 50 new virus cases in Chambers County, 14 in Macon County, 42 in Russell County and 53 in Tallapoosa County from Friday to Monday.

The average number of COVID-19 cases reported in the past two weeks continued to rise in every east Alabama county during the weekend, a trend that began in late October. Chambers County’s average rose from about 11.9 cases on Friday to about 12.1 on Tuesday, according to ADPH data.

Russell County’s average rose from about 3.9 on Friday to about 6.4 on Tuesday and Tallapoosa County’s average rose from about 13.9 on Friday to about 14.4 on Tuesday.

Macon County was the only east Alabama county to see its average drop. The county’s average slightly dropped from about 6.9 on Friday to about 6.4 on Tuesday.

The following is a look at the total number of confirmed cases, probable cases and combined total cases for east Alabama counties:

  • Chambers County – 1,028 confirmed, 567 probable, 1,595 combined
  • Macon County – 581 confirmed, 81 probable, 662 combined
  • Russell County – 1,906 confirmed, 181 probable, 2,087 combined
  • Tallapoosa County – 1,267 confirmed, 347 probable, 1,614 combined

There were 185,874 confirmed virus cases and 34,974 probable cases as of Tuesday in Alabama. The combined total of COVID-19 cases was 220,848.

There were 3,040 confirmed deaths and 261 probable deaths in the state as well, according to ADPH.

Of the 3,040 reported deaths in Alabama, 41 are from Chambers County, 51 from Lee County, 16 from Macon County, three from Russell County and 87 from Tallapoosa County. Of the 261 probable deaths, seven are from Chambers County, 14 from Lee County, four from Macon County and one from Tallapoosa County.

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