COVID-19 drive-thru testing

A healthcare worker is seen during a COVID-19 drive-thru testing location in Cullman on Friday, March 20.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Cullman County rose from one to three this week. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday morning had added two confirmed deaths for Cullman County.

Cullman Regional reported the deaths to ADPH on June 11 and June 16, according to Vice President of Communications and Marketing Lindsey Dossey. ADPH reviews every reported COVID-19 death.

Since May 21, when the current Safer at Home order went into effect, the number of COVID-19 cases in Cullman has risen from 72 to 312. Statewide, there have been an increase of more than 17,000 cases since the state reopened. As of Tuesday, Alabama had 30,670 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

While the majority of people who get COVID-19 recover, health experts are concerned about the growing rate of cases and hospitalizations from the disease.

Over the past two weeks, Alabama had the second highest number of new cases per capita in the nation. South Carolina was fourth. Louisiana and Mississippi were also in the top 10.

"We are extremely concerned about these numbers. We know if they continue, we will see more hospitalizations and more deaths," Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said.

The largest number of cases are in younger people. Forty-one percent of those who have tested positive were 25-49, and 21.77 percent were 60-64. For the older population, over 65, there are fewer cases - 19.35 percent - but this age group makes up 77.9 percent of the deaths in the state.

ADPH recommends people limit their exposure by following these steps:

• Practice good hygiene: cover coughs and sneezes, don't touch your face, and wash hands often

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home

• Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others not in your household

• Use cloth face coverings when in public

• Clean and disinfect frequently used items and touched surfaces often

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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

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