MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Health Department said Wednesday that the county has seen a spike in positive COVID-19 cases in people ages 18-29.
The county saw the largest overall jump in COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period since the department started counting cases in March. Most cases reported over the last few weeks are being driven by younger age categories.
“We were quite shocked to wake up this morning and see over 100 cases were added in one day,” Dr. Rendi Murphree with the Mobile County Health Department said.
Murphree said there were 103 COVID-19 cases reported in Mobile County Tuesday, June 23, and there was a 450 percent increase in cases added in one day in people ages 18-29. On Tuesday, June 23, there were 35 cases in that age range, compared to six cases on Monday, June 22.
Some are questioning if the daily counts are including residents from Baldwin County who are being tested in Mobile County. Murphree said there may be a few cases, but it is unlikely there are many Baldwin patients because Mobile County transfers those patients back to Baldwin County so they could be counted in that county.
With news of some local restaurants closing for COVID-19 cleaning and public concerns about restaurant employee safety procedures, Murphree said restaurants and local businesses should be following Gov. Ivey’s Safer at Home order to prevent such closures.
“What we are hearing, they were not following the order and could not identify the point of contamination,” Murphree said. “If businesses are following the advice of the Safer at Home order (wearing masks, keeping distance, limiting employee movement), if one becomes sick, you can isolate the area that needs to be disinfected.”
Restaurant employees are required to wear masks, as well as “close-contact” services employees, including barbershops and beauty services. If a restaurant employee or close-contact service employee tests positive and you have been in close contact with that person, the health department will notify you.
“There are some relaxation of HIPAA privacy rule during a federally declared disaster,” Murphree said. “The health department is using those relaxations to share information with first responders and, to the extent possible, using other entities to help us with data.”
Murphree reminded the public that “the only thing protecting you from that waitress is social distancing and using a mask. We will let you know if you have come into contact with someone positive. If they are waiting on you, you are making yourself vulnerable. By all means, if you are in a restaurant and your server is not wearing a mask, ask them to stand six feet away or get it curbside.”
“We are not out of the woods and we need to continue physical distancing, stay at home if you’re sick, cover cough, wash your hands and wear a face covering when you’re out.”
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