By all indications, the COVID-19 trends for Cullman County are going in the wrong direction.

Cullman County has the ignoble distinction of having the highest COVID-19 rate per 100,000 residents in the state, and is in the top 10 counties in the state for the number of additional cases in a 24-hour period.

According to the Alabama Department of Health dashboard on Friday, Cullman County has a rate of 981 cases per 100,000 residents. For comparison, Jefferson County, Alabama’s most populous county, has a rate of 472 cases per 100,000 residents.

This week, Cullman County has also been among the top 10 counties for additional cases in a 24 hour period. Earlier this week, Cullman County reported 55 new cases in one day, making it the sixth largest single-day case increase in the state, ahead of Mobile County. On Thursday, the county reported an additional 144 people testing positive for the virus, marking more than 800 new cases over a 14-day period.

Cullman Regional Medical Center (CRMC) has also seen an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. As of Wednesday, there were 42 patients being treated for the disease.

Those patients account for “nearly half of the hospital’s patients” said CRMC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Lindsey Dossey. “We continue to see a significant increase in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID,” she said.

Eight patients are on ventilators, and the hospital has reported 33 deaths to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Of those, 26 were Cullman County residents.

This week, Georgia Tech came out with an interactive county-by-county risk assessment map that shows the chances of a person with the virus being at gatherings of various sizes. The map shows that among a group of 15 people in Cullman County, the chances of someone having the virus is 40 percent. In a gathering of 50 people, the map indicates there’s an 82 percent chance someone will have the virus. Among 100 people, the map shows a 97 percent chance that at least one person will have COVID-19.

Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs said despite the increase in cases, the city does not have plans to cancel activities or mandate any health orders. “However, that does not mean we’re not required to follow mandates from the federal government and the state of Alabama,” he said. “We as a city have shifted our planning for more covid-friendly ways in order to provide a safer environment for all citizens.”

The city’s Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony will be held Dec. 4 and the annual Christkindlmarkt is scheduled for Dec. 11-12.

He encouraged residents to do their part to reduce the spread of the virus, “The only way we begin to curb this latest surge is to do what we know is right, not because it’s easy, but because it’s what is demanded of us.  Personal responsibility will do more good than any partisan approach, shut-down or mandate if we can be all-in as a community,” said Jacobs.

Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 Ext. 216.

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