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Madison County leaders optimistic about coronavirus fight progress

WAAY 31 asked why they’re so optimistic when the national experts say we’re in trouble.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 9:03 PM

Friday, another new report recommended Alabama go on lockdown.

This time, experts at Harvard University suggested it as the best way to flatten the coronavirus curve.

In a Friday news conference, Dale Strong, Madison County Commission chairman, and Madison County Health Officer Karen Landers both said we are doing a good job fighting the coronavirus and on the right track.

WAAY 31 asked why they’re so optimistic when the national experts say we’re in trouble.

"People are ready to get back to normal business. I don't think the folks in the political world and government, this is not where we are most comfortable, but we are going to do it because it's good for the people to understand what we are dealing with. That's the thing you look at things that we change every day in this. You look at permits. There was a carnival two weeks ago in Boaz. I think that was poor. You look at what the numbers are right now, in the hospitals there locally, that's probably attributed to what went on there. You put thousands of people in one location it's difficult to not have community spread. It's essential for the people, not only here in Madison County but also in North Alabama, to see how many people are in their hospitals being treated for this virus because it is big time. You look at how many of our health care providers are currently being treated. You look at the number of transports that are being done. Our pre-hospital through our ambulance services a lot of contact there," Strong said.

"As you know in the Alabama Department of Public Health our State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris provides information to the governor, and the governor weighs that information in context of the other information she receives from other expert groups on what the operation should be and what the operation is. What we are doing at the moment, this is the way we are approaching this. I think in order for us to continue to drive our numbers down this really requires a uniformed approach, but also an approach of individuals to carry out the activities we have outlined," Landers responded.

WAAY 31 also asked Landers more about her advice to school districts in Madison County to start the school year online-only.

Every other school district in North Alabama is allowing families to choose between in person or online learning.

Landers said it's up to school systems to determine what is best for their district. She and the health department only make recommendations. She said the only must-do advice the health department is giving districts is telling them to have students separated, sanitizing and wearing a mask.

She also said if the number of coronavirus cases are trending down that will make it safer.

"Our advice as far as the health department, we provide the medical information, we provide the guidelines as far as what we know from the CDC 's information, and then schools make the best decision that they can at that time recognizing if you are going from week to week, you're really looking at last week's data as it comes up on our indicator. We'll, looking week to week, at some point schools have to make a decision and they have to make decision that they can work with at that time. Early on, i told the superintendents that i'm going to be supportive of the decision that you make, that you believe is in the best interest of your school system based upon the data I have given you," she said.

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