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Cleburne County sees uptick in COVID-19 cases

HEFLIN — The Alabama Department of Public Health classifies Cleburne County in the “moderately high” range for the number of its COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday.

Cleburne County had 29 cases of the virus on Tuesday  — an increase of six confirmed cases in the last week — according to the ADPH. 

The infection rate per 100,000 people for Cleburne County, with a population of 14,910, is 154.3 which is slightly lower than neighboring Calhoun County which has an infection rate of 183.1 per 100,000 people. 

Calhoun County has a population of 113,605.

Crystal Cavender, Cleburne County’s emergency manager, recommended that all of the standard precautions be taken, including wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, limiting outings and washing hands frequently.

Cavender said she sees a mixed picture when it comes to residents protecting themselves from spreading the virus.

“We see a lot of people that really aren't concerned but on the other hand we do see a lot that are very concerned,” said Cavender.

“We understand that people, they want to live their lives and we completely understand that, we are all human and we want to go on about our daily lives,” she said.

Cavender said the information about COVID-19 cases from the ADPH is very vague.  

“We don’t really know where these cases are coming from, we understand that more people are being tested but it doesn't necessarily mean that they’re coming from one gathering or holiday or from another,” said Cavender.

“It’s just basic generalized information, and when we do obtain that information most of it seems a little outdated, so the process of gathering and disseminating the information is very slow,” said Cavender.

Cavender said the EMA has to rely on the   ADPH website to get its information, with the exception of addresses of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Cleburne County E911 uses the address database to alert the county’s first responders so they can use their COVID-19 protocols when responding if a resident has tested positive for the virus.

Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks said the uptick in cases mirrors the increase in cases nationwide and most likely they are due to reopening the economy. 

“I was a supporter of the businesses opening up because we’re either faced with the covid virus or we’re faced with bankruptcy for our businesses going out of business,” said Rooks on Monday. 

Rooks thinks the COVID-19 virus is here to stay.

Rooks said that authorities shutting down the economy bought time to better prepare the hospitals for dealing with COVID-19 cases. 

Rooks said that the virus has to run its course.

“We either develop an immunity to it, we develop some kind of vaccine for it,” said Rooks. 

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.