COVID-19 testing

Nurses prepare a swab during a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Cullman in March.

Cullman Regional Medical Center is reminding people to be vigilant in practicing social distancing as more people are being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

The hospital currently has seven patients who have tested positive for the disease and four patients on ventilators.

In it’s weekly update, CRMC said, “Due to the continued increase in cases across Cullman County, we encourage all community members to continue to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines, including the following:

· Maintaining a six-foot distance from anyone outside of your household when you leave home.

· Wear a mask when you are unable to maintain a 6-ft. distance from others outside of your immediate household.

· Wash your hands often, especially in public places – water and soap are best, but use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer when water and soap are unavailable.

· Practice good hand hygiene: cover your coughs and sneezes, don’t touch your face and wash your hands often.

· Disinfect frequently used items and touched surfaces often. “

Across Alabama, cases of COVID-19 are increasing, with people ages 25-64 having the highest number of confirmed cases. The majority of the 784 deaths, however, have been in the 65 and older age group.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Cullman County had 282 confirmed cases and one death as of Wednesday evening. In the past two weeks, 130 Cullman residents have tested positive for the disease. According to CRMC, the increase in Cullman County appears to be “through general community spread.”

In a briefing earlier this week, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., division director of UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases, said since testing began, the number of positive tests in Alabama has averaged around 8 percent; however, in the past week that percentage rose to close to 13 percent.

“That’s telling you that yes, you may be testing more, but you’re also detecting more,” she said.

She and other health experts urge people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people are going and forgetting that a mask is an essential part of being able to reenter society,” she said.

Cullman Regional offers a COVID-19 Self-checker on the Cullman Regional website, CullmanRegional.com. Access the self-checker by  clicking the teal heart in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Anyone with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and what they should do can call the Cullman Regional COVID-19 Information Line at 256-735-5530. The call center is now open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information and demographics of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Alabama, visit alabamapublichealth.gov.

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

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