Morgan County has 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of this morning, a 28% increase since Thursday night.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there were 50 confirmed cases Thursday, 55 on Friday and 57 on Saturday.

Testing for the virus is available without a doctor's referral today and Wednesday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Morgan County Health Department, 3821 U.S. 31 South.

"We prefer to coordinate with a doctor, but if people either don't have a doctor or can't get a doctor's order, that's not a criteria," Judy Smith, administrator of the Alabama Department of Public Health Northern District, said this morning.

She said if too many people show up to be processed by 3:30 those days, testing will continue past that time.

Testing is recommended for those who have shown symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. Health care workers, individuals over the age of 65 and individuals who have a condition that puts them at a higher risk are also eligible to receive a test. 

Those conditions include chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic renal disease, immunocompromised individuals, pregnancy and individuals with a neurologic, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability as well as other chronic illnesses.

People who wish to be tested are encouraged to call 256-353-7021 to preregister. They may also register by phone on-site, while remaining in their car.

Smith said the uptick in Morgan County cases concerns her.

"I like had a stroke when I saw the numbers," Smith said. 

She said she has not received details on any common source for the new cases.

She said she has requested that ADPH do a more in-depth profile of Morgan County cases.

"I think the enormity of the response activity has prohibited providing more specific details on the cases by county. I do think there's a need, and I think the state is looking at it in light of their staffing on how they can do it, particularly where there are significant jumps or hot spots."

She said the jump in Morgan County cases is a reminder that people need to be more cautious about social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face coverings or masks. People with no symptoms can infect others, she said.

"People need to assume they're at risk no matter where they go," Smith said. "You need to assume that you have it and that you could potentially give it to other people. You need to assume that other people have it and they could potentially give it to you."

Statewide there are 6,429 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 219 deaths. Lawrence County has 12 confirmed cases and Limestone County has 41. ADPH reports no local deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

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eric@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2435. Twitter @DD_Fleischauer.

(3) comments

John Bush

We are staying in until the hospitals are allowing visitors again. When that happens, it will be a sign that scientists and not politicians are calling the shots.

Mark King

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Armando de Quesada

Clearly, Alabama follows Trump's attitudes and core beliefs. People in Morgan county seem to believe it's all a conspiracy. Time will tell. Time tells all.

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