MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Hospital officials in Alabama’s capital on Tuesday raised concern about a rapid rise in virus cases in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County, with 2,100 cases, now has the second highest number of virus cases in the state, second only to Mobile. As of Wednesday morning, more than 21,000 people statewide had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and more than 725 people statewide had died.
Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said the trends in central Alabama are alarming.
“It’s community transmission,” Williamson said. He said there is not a single location, like a nursing home, behind the rise in Montgomery cases.
The Hospital Association said in a news release that the rate of new cases in Montgomery is outpacing other urban areas, with the county reporting more than 800 new cases in the last two weeks, about twice what was seen in Jefferson and Mobile counties.
Williamson said the influx of virus cases has helped fill intensive care units similar to what happens in flu season although hospitals have rooms and ventilators for critically ill patients. But he said they need the community’s help to avoid being overwhelmed.
“You don’t need to go out and do things just because you can. Minimizing exposure, wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are critically important,” Williamson said.
“Montgomery and the surrounding areas throughout Central Alabama remain a hotspot for the virus, and yet many citizens appear to think the worst is over,” Dr. David Thrasher, director of respiratory therapy at Jackson Hospital, said in a news release.
“I can assure you that Montgomery’s cases are not going down, and if our community does not take this seriously, the virus will continue to spread, and at some point, our medical capacity will reach its limit.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.