COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are continuing to drop in Coffee County and statewide, according to Coffee County Emergency Management Director James Brown.
Brown said state hospitalizations hovered around 2,800 for about three weeks, but started trending downward during the first week of September. His last report from two weeks ago showed 2,838 hospitalizations throughout the state, and his report from Monday shows 1,983. While this is a significant drop, Brown said health officials are still concerned about area hospitals being overwhelmed.
“Capacity remains a concern as despite the drop some hospitals in the area still remain over capacity for intensive care units,” Brown said. “The good news is we are not nearly as bad as we were two weeks ago.”
The EMA uses both the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine COVID-19 case numbers and both sources show a decrease in cases. The ADPH Data and Surveillance website shows 101 positives in a seven-day period or a little over 14 per day. For the last report from two weeks ago this was about 33 per day. The CDC shows different case numbers, showing 215 cases in the last seven days or about 31 per day. This is also a significant drop from the last report, which showed 429 cases in a seven day period or about 61 per day.
The county has also seen improvements in the positivity rate and vaccination rates. The current positivity rate for Coffee County is 17.2 percent, down from 30.7 percent two weeks ago. Brown said they would still ideally like this rate below 5 percent, so there is still improvement that needs to be made to decrease community transmission of the virus.
“We continue to concentrate our planning based on positivity rate which gives us an idea of community transmission,” Brown said. “We have seen a decline in this rate as well which gives us some hope that our cases may further decline in the coming month.”
Statewide vaccinations have gone up to 51 percent of the population receiving at least one dose and almost 41 percent are fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates in Coffee County have also continued to increase. During the county EMA’s last report, 36.78 percent had at least one dose and 28.75 percent had completed their vaccinations. Monday’s report stated 38.23 percent completing at least one dose and 30.80 percent completing the full series.
While Coffee County has seen these improvements, COVID-19 related deaths have increased in the past two weeks. Since it can take weeks to process and ensure cause of death, Brown said they are just now starting to see growth in reported deaths, with seven deaths reported during the last two-week report, and this two weeks report going up by 15 more deaths in the county.
With the increase of deaths in the county, Brown wants to public to be aware of FEMA’s funeral assistance program. FEMA has provided over $1.1 billion to nearly 170,000 people to assist with COVID-19-related funeral costs for deaths occurring on or after Jan. 20, 2020. Applicants may apply by calling the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at: 844-684-6333 — TTY: 800-462-7585. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.