Coffee County EMA Director James Brown gave the Coffee County Commission an update on COVID-19 at the commission’s Nov. 23 meeting.

Brown said that Coffee County saw 334 new positive cases over the last week and have gone from 18 new cases per day two weeks ago to now 24 new cases per day.

“The numbers are continuing to go up and we need to encourage everyone to do everything you’re supposed to do,” Brown said. “We encourage everyone to wear your masks, wash your hands and social distance.”

Brown said that of those 334 new cases 170 are still in quarantine and 60 are still infectious. In total, Coffee County has had 2,334 positive cases since the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) began tracking those numbers. Coffee County has eight confirmed deaths as a result of COVID-19 with seven probable deaths.

Brown said that one piece of good news is that the hospitalization numbers have remained steady – between 8-10 percent of positive cases require hospitalization – and those that are hospitalized are being released quicker.

“Hospital stays have shortened and are staying for 2-3 days instead of 2-3 weeks,” Brown said. “Death rates remain about 1.3-1.4 percent, which is a lot better than at the beginning when it was about 4 percent – which means we’re getting a lot better at treating people and not keeping people in the hospital as long.

“The issue is staffing at our hospitals. As numbers go up in the community they also go up for hospital staff. That’s a main problem right now.”

Brown said that the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were originally expected to arrive in mid December but he’s not expecting that to happen until January now. Brown also said that Coffee County has identified six sites that can be used as inoculation sites when the vaccine arrives.

In other business, the commission rejected the sole bid for corrugated metal pipe and approved county engineer Marty Lentz to send out invitations to rebid. Lentz said that after receiving just one bid before the deadline he was contacted by a vender that claimed to not receive the bid until after the deadline. Lentz suggested that it rebid because there may have been an issue with the mail service that led to some vendors receiving those invitations late.

Coffee County’s garbage pickup that usually occurs on Thursdays will be moved to Friday this week. Also, the Coffee County Extension office will be closed Nov. 25-27.

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