Lowest hospitalization numbers since October

COVID-19 cases on the decline

Statewide and local COVID-19 cases are on the decline offering a positive outlook after a very grim early winter. Under 900 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, the lowest numbers since late October.

In a Friday afternoon press conference, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “This is the most optimistic that we’ve been, I think, maybe since this all began. We see a path forward. I mean, we know how we’re going to get there now. And it seems to be working.”

Despite the decrease in cases, Dr. Harris urged Alabamians to continue to take precautions. “The message is that we’re not out of the woods, but we see how to get out of the woods; please don’t stop doing the things that you’re doing.”

The state’s vaccination efforts are improving. To date, nearly 720,000 vaccines have been administered, approximately 525,000 individuals have received at least one of the two shots. Still, only 4 percent of the state’s population has been fully inoculated. The state has received a little more than 1 million vaccines. Last week’s winter weather along with limited supply has dampened the ability to administer and deliver vaccines in recent days.

Locally, numbers are also trending downward. Blount County has accrued approximately 1.2 percent of Alabama’s positive COVID-19 cases thus far, according to Bama Tracker’s online database. About 8 percent of Blount County’s population have tested positive for the virus.

Approximately 2.29 percent of those nearly 4,700 confirmed positive cases in Blount County have resulted in death. As of Feb. 22, the county has amassed 106 confirmed deaths and listed an additional 19 probable deaths, bringing the countywide death total to 125.

Overall, cases in the county are declining which puts the county in ADPH’s “Low Risk” category on the organization’s online database. Nearly two-thirds of the state’s counties are now considered low risk.

Both Blount County and Oneonta City schools reported less than five cases each for the week of Feb. 19 according to ADPH’s online school database. With spring sports in full swing, the drop in numbers is a welcome sign to school administrators and parents. However, even with the lower number of cases, citizens are still encouraged to practice social distancing, wear a mask as a precaution, and avoid congregating in large groups if at all possible.

If you are interested in receiving a vaccine, the following are listed by ADPH as vaccine clinics in Blount County. Appointments are required.

• Blount County Health Department, Oneonta, 205-274-2120

• Primary Care Services, Oneonta, 205-625-3561

• MainStreet Family Care, Oneonta, 205-625-3650

• Premier Family Care, Blountsville, 833-429-2324