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COVID positivity rate declines

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COVID-19 numbers in the state continue to fall. 

Dr. Almena Free, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, was upbeat when she gave the weekly numbers during a social media broadcast Wednesday.

Free said that statewide, as of Tuesday, there were 1,549 new confirmed COVID cases, down from 1,984 the week before.

Free said the positivity rate was 10.5 percent, down from 13.6 percent last week.  The “positivity rate,” which is how prevalent positive cases of the disease are when compared to the number of tests being done.

There were 423 patients across the state in intensive care units, down from 542 the week before and 29 percent of all ICU patients are COVID positive compared to 36 percent recently, she said.

Statewide, 303 patients are on ventilators down from 398, Free said but added that three-fourths of all COVID hospitalizations are on ventilators. 

Free said there is still a shortage of nurses, nurse practitioners and beds across the state.

“Even though the numbers are coming down we’re still having our regular patients coming in, our regular ICU and critical care patients coming in, and we’re still dealing with a lot,” Free said. 

“We’re starting to see, even though the numbers ebb and flow, there’s a decline in the  amount of patients, COVID patients, admitted patients,” Free said. 

Free said there was a total of 45 COVID positive cases between both RMC and Stringfellow, down from a peak of 96 earlier in the year. 

Free said there had been three COVID admissions at RMC in the last 24 hours and a total of 16 for the month of October. Year-to-date there have been 1,575 Covid admissions.

In the last 24 hours there have been four deaths due to COVID at RMC and for the month of October there have been a total of 10 deaths. For the year there has been a total of 323 deaths at RMC, Free said.

 Dr. Raul R. Magadia, an infectious disease specialist and director of the pandemic unit at RMC, reminded viewers of the three W’s: “Wash your hands, wear your mask, watch your distance,” Magadia said. 

Magadia then went on to analyze the global COVID numbers.

He said there are 43.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and a total of 704,000 people have died of the disease. 

Magadia said the national population is 333 million; that’s four percent of the global population yet the U.S. has 19 percent of the global COVID cases. There have been 4.8 million deaths globally due to COVID and the U.S. accounts for 15 percent of the global deaths, Magadia said. 

Magadia said that hopefully before Halloween a Pfizer vaccine for kids under 11 years of age will be available. 

Free ended the broadcast with some advice for the “long haul” COVID patients.

 “Take care of yourselves; don’t just sit in the room, get up and move around, get outside, take deep breathing exercises, expand your lungs, your muscle control, take walks,” Free said. “Sleep well, eat well, drink water, take vitamins, get sun on you at times because vitamin D seems to be very very helpful.”

Free said now is the time to get the flu and pneumonia vaccinations.