SHEFFIELD – “We have had numerous inquiries of our healthcare leaders regarding their perspective in reopening activities in northwest Alabama.” - That from Kyle Buchanan, President of Helen Keller Hospital. He added that while there is reason to be optimistic, there is also reason to be extremely careful, especially now according to some recent data from the Alabama Department of Public health.
The COVID-19 process began on Friday, March 19 with the first confirmed positive case in this area. Forty days later, as we entered May, that number had just passed 100.
“Our trajectory at the time showed slow growth. This is indicative of significant control of spread and tracked favorably compared to the rest of the state,” said Buchanan. “Then, May happened. Our number of confirmed northwest Alabama cases increased from 124-485 in the first 15 days of May, as indicated on the chart.”
Although the Huntsville area is 174% more populous than northwest last Wednesday the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale Counties combined surpassed that of Madison, Limestone, and Morgan counties combined according the ADPH data.
“Likewise, through May 13, we experienced a threefold increase in the number of patients who were admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19, several in critical condition. Despite the broad clusters of home addresses of many of the newly discovered cases, most of the COVID-19 positive patients work, buy groceries, and have family connections throughout Franklin, Colbert, and Lauderdale counties.
“While we all want normalcy as soon as possible, we are concerned about a return to normal daily activity while our corner of Alabama encounters more new COVID-19 activity than most Alabama communities this month,” Buchanan added. “Based on this data, we urge everyone to use extreme caution in the coming days and weeks in order to prevent a severe outbreak in our local community.”