BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Behind the walls of the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency in Robertsdale officials are hard at work as they enter the new year.

“Baldwin County Emergency Management’s scope is to be the conduit for state and federal resources in the event that something occurs,” said Baldwin County EMA Director Zach Hood.

That’s why Hood and his staff are constantly adjusting their preparedness plan as COVID-19 cases are back on the rise. He’s monitoring hospitalizations at Baldwin County’s 3 hospitals, ready to offer assistance and accept requests at any given moment.

“The fact that we do not have any active requests at this point in time, especially with the rate of infection based on the cases that are tested we’re in a very good situation,” he said Tuesday.

South Baldwin Regional Medical Center currently has 5 COVID-19 patients requiring care as of Tuesday. Hospital officials expect that number could rise and that’s why effective today there’s a new policy in place for visitors.

“Effective January 4, 2022, our visitation policy will allow for one (1) visitor, over the age of 18, per patient, per day, until further notice,” a spokesperson said.

We haven’t heard back from Infirmary Health on the current hospitalizations at Thomas Hospital or North Baldwin Infirmary. As of Dec. 31, 2021 both hospitals have a similar visitation policy in place, though. 

An official with the Alabama Department of Public Health tells WKRG News 5 testing numbers have “increased sharply” in recent weeks, but vaccination rates remain level.

“Vaccine distribution levels remain about the same. We haven’t seen a significant uptick in those getting the vaccine. We remain at 45.99% fully vaccinated, with 56.82% receiving 1 dose of a 2 dose series,” we’re told.

Baldwin County, like most Alabama counties, remains in the ‘high risk’ category for COVID-19 community transmission.