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COVID-19 cases increase 30 percent in Morgan since Thursday

By Eric Fleischauer  

For the Enquirer 

Morgan County has 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon – a 30 percent increase since Thursday night. 

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

Testing for the virus is available without a doctor’s referral Wednesday from 13:30 p.m. at the Morgan County Health Department, 3821 U.S. Highway 31 S. 

“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,” explained Judy Smith, administrator of the Alabama Department of Public Health Northern District. 

Smith said if too many people show up to be processed by 3:30 p.m., testing will continue past that time. 

Testing is recommended for those who have shown symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. Healthcare workers, individuals older than 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 and chronic renal disease. Immunocompromised individuals, pregnant individuals and those with a neurologic, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability, as well as other chronic illnesses, also qualify. 

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

Smith said the uptick in Morgan County cases concerns her. 

“I about 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, and 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,” Smith said. 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 you have it and that you could potentially give it to other people. You need to assume other people have it and could potentially give it to you.” 

Statewide there are 6,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 222 deaths, according to the ADPH as of Monday at 5 p.m. Lawrence County has 12 confirmed cases, and Limestone County has 42. ADPH reports no local deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic.