Continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its effects in Northeast Alabama. No subscription is required to read these stories. To support local journalism in your community, sign up at annistonstar.com/subscribe.

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As of Friday morning, Regional Medical Center had yet to house a single confirmed COVID-19 patient. By the state's count, at least 16 people in Calhoun County have the virus. Officials expect that number to surge in the next few weeks and strain a hospital that, for now, is less busy than usual.

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