WATCH: Calhoun County Unified Command provide updates regarding COVID-19 pandemic

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – As cases continue to rise in the state of Alabama, members of the Calhoun County Unified Command held a press conference Monday afternoon to provide updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chief of staff at RMC in Anniston asked the community to do their part in helping end the coronavirus pandemic. “Our nursing capability as everyone has stated is stressed. If there are any nurses in the community that are retired, furloughed, went to New York, or any of the other hot spots— we need you,” said Dr. Dr. Almena Free, Chief of Staff, Regional Medical Center.

The hospital announced on Monday the opening of a third COVID-19 ward to accommodate its growing number of patients. RMC’s COVID-19 patients has increased more than 8-fold in the past two weeks.

“In 2 weeks, we’ve gone from 5 to 44. Nine of those patients are vented, 10 are in the ICU-level,” said Louis Bass, the presidents and CEO of Regional Medical Center.

The new unit will make room for 14-16 additional COVID-19 patients. The county has made several requests for additional staffing to help ease the strain the healthcare system is facing. “We are in the process of petitioning the governor’s office of volunteer services for additional staffing that might could come from other places statewide,” said Michael Barton, Calhoun County EMA director.

In an effort to encourage more people to get tested, the county has increased their testing sites from twp days a week to four.

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County leaders are expected to provide updates regarding the virus as well as details regarding the hospital capacity.

The press conference will be held at the Regional Medical Center located at 400 East 10th Street, Anniston, AL 36207.

Expected Speakers include:

– Co-Incident Commander- Michael Barton, Director, Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency
– Co-Incident Commander- Louis Bass, President and CEO, Regional Medical Center
– Co-Incident Commander- Dr. Almena Free, Chief of Staff, Regional Medical Center

For more information regarding the coronavirus in Alabama visit.

The press conference can also be viewed at


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