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Pike County sets a record for one-day new cases

Pike County added a record number of new COVID cases on Wednesday.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s 10 a.m. update, Pike County added 60 newly reported cases, bringing the 14-day positive rate to 55.33 percent. Of the new cases, 35 are confirmed and 25 are identified as probable.

Statewide, more than 4,590 cases were added on Wednesday, bringing the 14-day positive rate to 47.09 percent. More than 3,080 people remain hospitalized.

Local and state officials have warned that another surge is likely to continue in coming weeks.

“We were fortunate in the fall to not have a lot of serious cases,” said Herbert Reeves, Pike County EMA director and Dean of Student Services at Troy University. “With the numbers we’re seeing now, I don’t see any leveling off or flattening of the curve any time soon …

“We’ve about to get through the Christmas surge, then we’ll have the New Year’s surge … then the back to school and back to work surge.”

Dr. Don Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said the surge is likely attributable to the continued fallout from Thanksgiving, the earliest Christmas parties as well as increased community transmission.  “If anything, this is the very first part of the Christmas surge, and we still have a lot of the surge to deal with,” Williamson said.

“It’s rapidly deteriorating, and probably will over this week continue to deteriorate pretty rapidly as we do get the Christmas surge,” Williamson said.

Williamson said half of all intensive care beds in the state are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Across the state there were about 500 COVID-19 patients on ventilators, a new high, Williamson said.

Alabama saw a spike in cases in December, with more than 100,000 cases being reported in that month alone. Doctors have expressed concern the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Since the pandemic began, the state health department has reported more than 374,095 confirmed and probable virus cases and at least 4,878 confirmed and probable virus deaths in Alabama.

While the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, it can be deadly for the elderly and people with other, serious health problems.