Madison County officials Tuesday reported a second local death from the novel coronavirus that is paralyzing the country and most of the world, and Huntsville City Council President Devyn Keith announced a state-of-emergency extension that will last at least until April 27.
But all news wasn’t negative at the latest daily COVID-19 press briefing at the city council chambers.
Alabama has confirmed 2,063 positive tests of the virus and Madison County 146, which is the fourth-highest in the state after rising to second behind Jefferson County last week.
“We’re much of the same volume we’ve been seeing for the last few days, which is good news,’’ Crestwood Medical Center CEO Dr. Pam Hudson said of her hospital and Huntsville Hospital’s facilities. “Probably our total number of people under investigation or have positive (tests) is less than 30. So again, pretty stable from that standpoint.
“The question usually comes up are we discharging folks home and the answer is yes. Between all the hospitals looks like we have discharged home about 13 folks.’’
Hudson also echoed Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers’ comments Monday that medical supplies such as personal protection equipment (PPE) in Madison County are, at least for now, adequate.
“We are holding our own,’’ she said. “We continue to source from as many places as we can identify for supplies that we need. But for now, we’re in good shape.’’
Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong, who along with Huntsville-Madison County EMA Director Jeff Birdwell, joined Hudson on the rotating dais of local representatives at the briefings.
He said the county budget was “taking hits on the ‘Rainy Day’ fund.’’ For example, last week $36,500 was spent on N95 masks for emergency and hospital personnel.
But he remained optimistic the local economy, which was booming before the pandemic, will rebound.
“We’ve watched this economy go down a little,’’ he said, “but I believe this economy is going to recover faster than ever.’’
At Monday’s briefing, Keith announced the city’s state of emergency edict will be extended three weeks. The original three-week order was made March 16 by both Huntsville and Madison and will now last until at least April 27.
Also, Spillers said a handful of models have predicted a “peak’’ in positive cases as soon as this week or next to all the way to September.
To see more model results and statistics, visit www.alabamapublichealth.org.
Other highlights from Monday:
- Spillers said the drive-thru testing site at John Hunt Park would remain closed since demands are being met at the hospital’s clinics.
- Local hospitals have cleared space in case more beds become necessary and are putting together a strategy in case more space, supplies or staffing becomes a need.