Madison County leaders waiting for data to see if carnival causes coronavirus spike

The Madison County Commission chairman said he thinks more data will be available next week.

Posted: Sep 9, 2020 6:02 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2020 10:28 PM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM asked local leaders about their concerns following a 10-day carnival in Madison.

The event wrapped up about a week ago, but before it began, they expressed worries that it could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Dale Strong, Madsion County Commission Chairman, said Wednesday he thinks it's too soon to see the impacts the carnival in Madison could have on all of Madison County.

Strong repeatedly stressed the importance of sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing a mask.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said mass gatherings are always a concern. Between the carnival and Labor Day she said she hopes anyone who is involved in a large gathering follows the guidelines Strong suggested.

The carnival in Madison also was in Sand Mountain earlier in the summer and Strong said what happened in Marshall County is still on his mind..

"Give it another week and then maybe we will have some data that will show what occurred here. We do know that whenever it was in Boaz both of the hospitals there 10-21 days later did have extremely high numbers that were attributed to that carnival." Strong said.

"If they have been in congregate settings do these measures, if for someone reason you are not able to take those measures or you choose not to take those measures it is vitally important that you monitor yourself," Landers added.

WAAY 31 also asked Landers about the risk indicator map after the latest update moved Madison County to red for very high risk. The department told us it was because of an increase in coronavirus positive cases at long-term care facilities.

Landers explained she doesn't think people need to be concerned just yet about the risk indicator map, and that many isolated entities don't have a lot of interaction with the general public, like nursing homes and prisons.

The department of public health determines the risk indicator map by looking at a few different sets of data. One of those is whether the number of cases in a county is increasing.

If they're going up or staying the same, then a county will be placed at high risk. The state also looks at the number of people seeking medical attention for coronavirus-like symptoms The department wants to see 0.8 percent of a county's population being tested each week.

WAAY 31 asked Landers if including nursing homes, which have seen a big increase in cases but are closed to visitors and the public, skews the data.

"It's just like including a corrections facility that's a closed population. I do think you have to include that data because persons who work in those entities are also out in the community, so I think you have to include that data," she said.

Landers did say the state is working with urgent care and doctors offices to make sure all the tests are being reported and not just positive test results. If the percentage of positive cases is higher, it will also skew the risk indicator map.

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