UPDATE: Shelby County now has 7 reported COVID-19 deaths

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

While it was a relatively quiet day as far as an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, there were two more reported COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, April 15.

While Shelby County had one of its lowest rises in confirmed cases since the early stages of the novel coronavirus outbreak with five more confirmed cases, there were two more reported deaths in the county.

The Alabama Department of Public Health hasn’t confirmed the deaths yet, but they are listed as reported. Previously, all five reported cases have been confirmed.

That would bring the county’s death total to seven.

But the confirmed-case count only went up by five cases from 230 to 235, which looks to be a positive sign for the future on the same day that Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris both said that social distancing was working and the case count may not become as drastic as once expected.

The state total rose by less than 200 in the last 24 hours, going from 3,803 to 3,953. Shelby County’s seven confirmed deaths are part of 114 statewide, while 73 of those have been confirmed.

Jefferson County still has the highest number of confirmed cases at 620, but only had three more in the last 24 hours, while Mobile and Lee counties also remained ahead of Shelby County. Mobile now has 509 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and continues to have drastic increases, while Lee is now up to 265.

In addition to that, Chambers is at 216 confirmed cases, while Madison (191), Montgomery (161), Tallapoosa (123), Tuscaloosa (122) and Marshall (104) counties all have more than 100 cases.

There have been 33,050 tests administered across the state, while Shelby County has administered 1,587 of those. Also, a total of 493 patients have been hospitalized since the first virus was confirmed on March 13.

In addition to those numbers, 625 health care workers have had confirmed cases since the onset, while 210 patients have been in the intensive care unit and 132 on ventilators. There have also been 194 long-term care patients and 182 long-term care employees with a confirmed case.

So far, 56.82 percent of confirmed cases have been female, 73.24 percent have been between the ages of 19 and 64, and 47.15 percent have been white, while 37.49 percent have been black.

In the confirmed deaths, 69.9 percent have been older than 64, 60.3 percent have been male, 52.1 percent have been black and 42.5 percent have been white.

It was also confirmed last week that 15 residents and seven employees at the Columbiana Health and Rehabilitation facility had tested positive for the virus.

Since the outbreak started, positive cases have been confirmed featuring four local schools including two at Thompson High School, one at either Oak Mountain Intermediate or Elementary School, one at Helena High School and one at Calera High School. Both Helena and Calera students also possibly had contact with someone at the middle school.

It was also been confirmed that an employee at the Alabaster Chick-fil-A tested positive as did Montevallo pastor Ray Dunmyer of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and an employee at Montevallo City Hall.

The Alabaster Chick-fil-A has since reopened for takeout and drive-thru services after a thorough cleaning.

Graphic by Jamie Dawkins

Testing for COVID-19 is now being done by appointment at UAB as well as Total Care 280 in the North Shelby area off U.S. 280, It’s About Time Urgent Care in Helena and Columbiana Clinic in Columbiana. You are urged to get tested only if you present symptoms of a fever, cough or shortness of breath, or have been in contact with somebody who has the virus.

UAB is encouraging you to call 205-975-1881 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. to describe your symptoms. They will then determine whether you present what could be COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they’ll set an appointment for you to get tested the next day.

If you think you have been exposed or have symptoms, please isolate and call your doctor or nearest medical facility for guidance or call the Alabama Department of Public Health hotline at 1-888-264-2256.

For more information about COVID-19, visit Alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.

To view an updated dashboard of confirmed cases and see testing sites, visit Alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7