Spike in Lawrence County COVID-19 deaths causes alarm

Spike in Lawrence County COVID-19 deaths causes alarm
(Source: KAIT-TV)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Lawrence County reported eight new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. The state of Alabama reported 32 deaths total on the same day.

According to our news partners at The Decatur Daily, infected Lawrence County residents are dying of the disease at a rate more than three times that of Morgan and Limestone counties and more than twice the statewide rate.

From September 8 to September 15, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 15 new COVID-19 deaths in Lawrence County. With more than three times Lawrence County’s population, Morgan County has 25 deaths. Limestone County, with more than twice the population of Lawrence, has 19 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

“I think everyone here knows someone who died of it,” said Lawrence County Commissioner Bobby Burch, who said he personally knew a half dozen who succumbed to the disease.

There are signs things will get worse for the county before they get better. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases has doubled since July 25, reaching 568 Tuesday. Among those tested in the last two weeks, more than 1 in 5 Lawrence County residents have tested positive.

Dean Griffin, CEO of Lawrence Medical Center, said he’s been following the spike in fatalities, although none of them have been patients at his hospital. He said the hospital has had eight to 10 COVID-19 patients total, but many with the disease go to other hospitals in the region. ADPH records fatalities not at the county where individuals died, but where they resided.

“I was surprised when it jumped to 12 (on Saturday), and obviously with eight more to 20 is extremely concerning,” he said Tuesday.

One factor, he said, may be that Lawrence residents are not seeking treatment as quickly as they should.

“Some patients are scared to go to the hospital or to their doctor until they’re very sick,” he said, increasing the likelihood of a bad outcome.

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