Coffee County EMA Director James Brown gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at the July 26 Coffee County Commission meeting to inform the commission of the current rise in hospitalizations around the state.
Brown said that the state is averaging 1,000 new cases per day over the last 14 days, after averaging 130 new cases per day in the beginning of July. Brown also said that cases have risen from 277 people in Alabama hospitalized due to COVID-19 to 870 over the past two weeks. He said he expects those numbers to double in the next two weeks. Coffee County has gone from averaging 71 new cases per 14 days to 264 new cases per 14 days.
“There is not a whole bunch we can do about it unless people do what they’re supposed to,” Brown said. “The way I look at this is sort of like a map of where we’re heading. We can stop where we’re at if people go get a vaccine. If people want to slow it up they’ll start wearing a mask and social distancing.
“Otherwise, we just have to hope our map is wrong and the numbers are wrong and we won’t go (up) anymore.”
Brown also talked about “breakthrough cases” of COVID-19, or people that have been vaccinated that still come down with the virus.
“Let’s say the vaccine is 95 percent effective, that means five people out of 100 will still end up getting the virus,” Brown continued. “So, 1-of-20 will still get the virus even if they got the vaccine. The thing is that if they got the vaccine they have enough (antibodies) in their bodies to fight this that they probably won’t get it real bad.
“So, the people that are going to the hospital primarily are the ones that didn’t get a vaccine. I encourage everyone to get a vaccine to stop this thing. If you don’t get a vaccine, wear a mask, social distance and do our best to try and slow this down. With the numbers (of cases) and the rate it’s going right now I would say within the next two weeks to a month we will be right back up there where we were, and I don’t like seeing people having to be transferred out of Alabama just to get treated at a hospital.”
In commission business, the commission approved a construction loan from Synovus bank – at a 1.79 percent interest rate – for the construction of a new cell at the Coffee County Landfill. Also, the commission approved the county to sell two surplus garbage trucks.