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County sees over 20 new cases

From nursing homes to the health department, government offices to schools, COVID-19 cases continue to spread in Pike County.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pike County, an increase of more than 20 cases reported since 5 p.m. Monday.

“I have said it about as many ways and times as I can,” Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said on Tuesday. “Anyone who has thoughts that we can slack up now is wrong.”

Reeves, sharing his comments at the end of the Troy City Council meeting, said with the reopening of more of the state’s economy, as well as the beaches, residents may be tempted to ease back on their safety precautions or become complacent about the risks posed by COVID-19.

“But this is the time to be more vigilant,” he said. “As we were at home, sheltering in place, we were more protected than we are now … this is a real threat, and we have to do what we need to do to take care of ourselves.”

From wearing masks in uncontrolled environments to maintaining social distancing and good hygiene, Reeves said individuals must take responsibility for themselves and their health, especially as necessary efforts are made to reopen businesses and revitalize the economy.

“The message has not changed: This is not the end of the world and it’s not nothing. It needs to be taken seriously,” he said.

Among the cases confirmed this week are six patients at a local nursing home and five employees who work at the Health Department building on Franklin Street, which houses both the Pike County Commission offices and the Pike County Health Department.

Herbert Reeves, Pike County EMA director and Dean of Students at Troy University, said within the past two weeks, the university has learned of three students in Troy who have tested positive for COVID-19. “They self-reported to us,” he said. “And all live in town but off campus.”

“And we’ve had four staff members in the past 10 days test positive,” he added.

The university, which has been closed with work-from-home procedures in place for most faculty and staff, plans to reopen campus on June 1 and allow some student athletes to return. “Whether that reopening date was June 1 or July 1, we’re going to worry about it,” Herb Reeves said, adding that guidelines are in place to help encourage social distancing; virtual communications; and safety. University officials expect to have plans for the fall semester in place by July 1.