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Coronavirus cases top 1,200 in Calhoun County as surge continues

The count of coronavirus patients in Calhoun County rose to 1,206 Tuesday morning, as local officials warn of a surge in the virus that is filling emergency rooms and killing local residents. 

Forty-five new infections were identified Monday and another four Tuesday morning in Calhoun County, according to numbers released by the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

Statewide, there were 80,309 people with the virus Tuesday morning — twice the number the state had at the beginning of July. In Calhoun County, the virus seems to be advancing faster, with cases doubling about every two weeks. 

By the official count, six people in Calhoun County have died of the virus. But local officials in a press conference Monday said another five people have died in the last week, even though they've not yet been added to the official count

Doctors on Monday called for retired or inactive health care workers to come back to work at Regional Medical Center, where emergency rooms and coronavirus wards are increasingly full. There were 48 coronavirus patients hospitalized at RMC, with 13 on ventilators, as of Monday afternoon.

Hospital administrators also asked people to use urgent care centers instead of the emergency room for non-emergency medical needs. 

Local officials plan to offer free drive-through testing for the virus Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Alexandria Elementary School.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.