DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Right now, six Alabama counties are being identified as “very high risk” for the spread of COVID-19. Five of those counties are right here in North Alabama. Limestone, Morgan, Franklin, Dekalb and Lawrence were all elevated to that highest category on Friday.
ADPH and hospital officials in Morgan and Limestone counties talked about their concern about this spike with our news partners at the Decatur Daily.
Judy Smith with ADPH said the focus of this spike has been on COVID-19 spreading at schools and churches.
Looking at the numbers, both Morgan and Limestone have seen their seven-day average in cases double since the end of September.
The seven-day average for Morgan County on September 30 was just more than 15 cases, now, as of October 11, the seven-day average is up to nearly 29 new COVID-19 cases each day.
For Limestone County, it was at 17 cases for the seven-day average at the end of September, that has now increased to almost 34 cases a day.
Smith said hospitals are also seeing a spike in COVID-19 patients. As of Friday, Decatur Morgan Hospital had 30 and Athens-Limestone Hospital had 17.
Kelli Powers, the President of Decatur Morgan Hospital, said they’re hoping to open a new COVID unit on their Parkway campus. She said she’s expecting more hospitalizations from this recent spike in cases.
Powers said the biggest issue in getting that unit open is staffing. Powers said the staff members are tired and, as of Friday, eight hospital employees are at home after testing positive for COVID-19 and 11 are in quarantine after coming in close contact with the virus.
We are expecting to hear from Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and the President of Decatur Morgan Hospital Kelli Powers for a COVID-19 briefing at 10 a.m., we’ll carry that live on the WAFF website and 48 news app.