While the nation passed this week the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from Covid-19, the trends in the Auburn community remained encouraging.
The number of new positive cases of Covid-19 at Auburn University continued to decline, as only 53 students or staff self-reported or tested positive during the week ending Sept. 20, down from the previous weeks' reported cases of 109, 598 and 570.
"We're really right now having a bit of a lull, which is a good thing," said Dr. Fred Kam, director of Auburn University Medical Clinic. "They're down because people are taking the extra efforts to do all the preventative measures, as well as the leaders are making the tough decisions to do things to mitigate the spread of the virus."
Some of the tough decisions include Auburn City Council's extension of the state of local emergency through Oct. 7, which was encouraged by officials at East Alabama Medical Center and Auburn University.
Most notably, the resolution prohibits walk-up bar service indoors at downtown restaurants and bars, meaning patrons will have to be seated to be served. That measure will remain in effect during Auburn's season-opener on Saturday. Walk-up bar service is permitted outdoors, and many downtown merchants plan on taking advantage of the entertainment district designation for Saturday by setting up temporary bars outside for walk-up patrons. Residents will be able to walk around with adult beverages downtown on Saturday, although standing while drinking indoors is prohibited.
In the weeks leading up to Labor Day weekend, EAMC officials said they would see keeping the number of hospitalized patients under 40 as a success. Hospitalizations neared that number, climbing to 37 over the weekend before falling to 32 as of Wednesday. Hospitalization numbers typically ebb and flow as some patients are released while others are admitted.
"Just like with other hospital patients, it’s a revolving door each day,” said EAMC spokesman John Atkinson. “While our hospitalizations have been up a little—but now stabilized—it’s very encouraging to see the lower testing numbers and cases in the community"
“That almost ensures that our hospitalizations will remain stable or drop over the next 10-14 days. Hopefully the trend continues as we all learn to live responsibly amidst this pandemic.”
Last week, EAMC released data breaking down by age group the 3,273 positive results from testing performed on-site since the pandemic began:
• Ages 0-17 — 106 positives
• Ages 18-24 — 918
• Ages 25-39 — 642
• Ages 40-59 — 796
• Ages 60-79 — 644
• Ages 80 and over — 168
The three-day and seven-day moving averages for Lee County are holding steady after dropping sharply over the past two months from a July peak.
As of Thursday morning, Lee County has had 3,809 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began in mid-March, with another 1,983 cases listed as probable, according the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Lee County has also had 50 confirmed deaths attributed to Covid-19, with another 11 categorized as probable.
Auburn City Schools continued its trend of limiting the number of new Covid cases in the system, reporting only six new cases the week of Sept. 14-18, which resulted in 30 students or staff entering quarantine protocol.
"As students, staff and teachers continue to practice preventative measures through the use of facial covering, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene at school, we continue to ask parents and guardians to be the first line of defense with daily screenings of symptoms," said an ACS release on Sunday. "Students with symptoms of illness should stay home and will be excused from school."
For the most up-to-date Covid numbers for Lee County, go to www.adph.org.