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COVID-19 UPDATE: One added to official death toll for Calhoun County

Thirteen people have died of COVID-19 in Calhoun County, according to numbers released by the Alabama Department of Public Health Wednesday morning. 

The Wednesday numbers increase the county's official death toll by one, though local health and emergency officials say the actual number may be as high as 20, including five deaths in local long-term care facilities in recent weeks. 

Across the county, the rate of spread of the virus continues to increase, with 1,627 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning and more than 50 new cases emerging per day over the past two weeks. As of Tuesday night, there were 51 people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Regional Medical Center in Anniston, the county's highest number of hospitalized patients so far. 

One of those patients is County Commissioner Eli Henderson, 84, who was taken to the hospital Saturday night by ambulance and later put on a ventilator, according to members of his family. 

Statewide, 1,639 people have died from the virus, with 91,776 infected since mid-March.

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