UPDATE: Shelby County with just 1 additional COVID-19 case in last 24 hours

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Despite 97 more COVID-19 tests counted by the Alabama Department of Public Health on Thursday, April 16, only one of those tests came back positive in Shelby County.

It marked 80 more tests than were given in the previous 24 hours, as the county total of confirmed cases now sits at 242 with five confirmed deaths and two other reported deaths.

It also marks the smallest increase of confirmed cases since the first two cases were recorded in the county back on March 15.

Over the last 72 hours, there have been just 12 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 two days 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, continued to rise, but by less than 200 as 163 more cases were confirmed on Thursday bringing the statewide total to 4,404.

There have now been 82 confirmed deaths, while the ADPH is waiting to confirm another 55, which would bring the total to 137 since the outbreak began on March 13.

Jefferson County still has the highest number of confirmed cases at 634, but it only marked an six-case jump for the state’s most populated county. It also marks the second straight 24-hour span that the county has seen less than 10 confirmed cases.

Mobile and Lee counties also remained ahead of Shelby County with Mobile now at 594 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and Lee at 294. Mobile’s rise over the last week has been the most drastic across the state.

In addition to that, Chambers is at 234 confirmed cases, while Montgomery is now above the 200 mark at 201. Madison (198), Tallapoosa (160), Tuscaloosa (132), Marshall (117) and Baldwin (102) counties all have more than 100 cases.

There have been 36,363 tests administered across the state, while Shelby County has administered 1,701 of those. That’s 2,286 more tests looked at by the ADPH in the last 24 hours. To this point, 553 patients have been hospitalized since the first virus was confirmed on March 13.

In addition to those numbers, 686 health care workers have had confirmed cases since the onset, while 227 patients have been in the intensive care unit and 137 on ventilators.

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

There have also been 255 long-term care patients and 216 long-term care employees with a confirmed case. That marks 30 additional cases for long-term care residents in the last 24 hours and 19 more employees.

So far, 57.08 percent of confirmed cases have been female, 72.91 percent have been between the ages of 19 and 64, and 47 percent have been white, while 37.87 percent have been black.

In the confirmed deaths, 73.2 percent have been older than 64, 59.8 percent have been male, 53.7 percent have been black and 41.5 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