UPDATE: Shelby County sees just 6 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

With just six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Shelby County on Wednesday, April 15, it marked one of the lowest increases for a day in the last two weeks.

The county’s total is now at 241, which went up from 235 in the last 24 hours, while there remains five confirmed deaths by the Alabama Department of Public Health and another two reported deaths still waiting for confirmation.

Over the last 48 hours, there have been just 11 more confirmed cases in the county, while at times throughout the outbreak there have been between 10 and 20 confirmed cases per day locally.

This looks to be a positive sign for the future a day after 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 numbers, however, continued to rise and surpassed 4,000 confirmed cases behind 288 more confirmed on Wednesday, which brought the total to 4,241. There have also been 75 confirmed deaths statewide and an additional 48 still awaiting confirmation.

Jefferson County still has the highest number of confirmed cases at 628, but it only marked an eight-case jump for the state’s most populated county, while Mobile and Lee counties also remained ahead of Shelby County. Mobile now has 561 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and continues to have drastic increases, while Lee is now up to 285.

In addition to that, Chambers is at 216 confirmed cases, while Madison (194), Montgomery (189), Tallapoosa (149), Tuscaloosa (131) and Marshall (109) counties all have more than 100 cases.

There have been 34,077 tests administered across the state, while Shelby County has administered 1,604 of those, which was just 17 more tests recorded in the last 24 hours. Also, a total of 524 patients have been hospitalized since the first virus was confirmed on March 13.

In addition to those numbers, 653 health care workers have had confirmed cases since the onset, while 219 patients have been in the intensive care unit and 134 on ventilators.

That’s just two more confirmed to be on ventilators in the last 24 hours.

There have also been 225 long-term care patients and 197 long-term care employees with a confirmed case. That marks 31 additional cases for long-term care residents in the last 24 hours.

So far, 57.11 percent of confirmed cases have been female, 72.86 percent have been between the ages of 19 and 64, and 47.02 percent have been white, while 37.42 percent have been black.

In the confirmed deaths, 71.1 percent have been older than 64, 61.8 percent have been male, 53.9 percent have been black and 40.8 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