SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Shelby County neighbors and officials continue to try and combat the spread of COVID-19, despite case numbers nearing triple digits.
Health leaders tell CBS 42 there are several factors that have contributed to the volume of cases.
“First of all, I think we need to remember that this is a populous county,” said Dr. Karen Landers, an assistant state health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “Secondly, realize the availability of additional specimen collection in this county again could be greater due to the size of the county. And finally the proximity of this county to other counties that have large numbers of positives.”
There are more than 200,000 residents in Shelby County. As of Monday afternoon, Shelby County had the third-highest total of infections in the state.
“A lot of our people here work in Jefferson County so we have a lot of traffic back and forth through Jefferson County,” said Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans.
Evans is among those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. She said she has already found positive cases in some people who have recently died in Shelby County.
“The pre-existing condition may be listed as the cause of death, but COVID did play a role. We have much more than 4 to 5 deaths in the state and in Shelby County right now that fall under those circumstances,” Evans said.
According to Evans, coroners and representatives from the ADPH work closely to determine cause of death.
“Any COVID death that I have that you have tested positive, it will be listed on the death certificate as a contributing factor. It will be left to ADPH to do the investigation whether they want to say COVID was the cause or if there was another pre-existing cause that was the true cause of death,” said Evans.
The coroner’s office is taking extra precautions to make sure they stay safe. Evans told CBS 42 that family members will be asked about any symptoms a descendant may have had prior to death.
“Unfortunately with a decedent, if we feel it is necessary to swab them, we will go in fully PPE, a mask, gloves, eye protection to be able to do that swab and turn that into the state,” said Evans.
Evans is encouraging neighbors to take the virus seriously.
“Wash your hands. Keep your social distancing,” Evans said.
Health leaders and Evans expect the number of cases will continue to rise in Shelby County and throughout the state.
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