Coffee County EMA director James Brown provided a more positive report Monday, Feb. 8, to Coffee County Commissioners pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our cases are looking better right now,” Brown said.

While the state still had more than 11,500 cases of the COVID-19 virus last week, he said that still was a drop from previous weeks. 

Brown said Coffee County was averaging around 33.7 new cases per day over the past two weeks, but that too was down from 38.9 per day from the previous update.

“The death rate is the thing that keeps going up unfortunately,” Brown said. “About 1.5 percent of all cases in the county end up in death.

However, he said the county had dropped from experiencing around eight deaths per week to six per week over the past couple of weeks.

“I don’t like those numbers, but they are looking better,” Brown said.

He added that hospitalizations also had shown a significant drop over the past few weeks. At the beginning of January, Brown said around 23 percent of all hospitalizations were COVID-related. Now, he said only about 11 percent of hospitalizations across the state are COVID-related.

“We also are doing better at getting vaccines out to the public,” Brown said. “Last Monday, ADPH launched an online portal to help make appointments for the vaccine.” ** See more on this on Page 4. **

Brown said it was encouraging last week to learn that Johnson and Johnson had filed for an emergency approval on its vaccine to get it out and available to the public. He said the really good news about this vaccine is that it is a one-shot deal, which will allow more people to be able to get the vaccine.

Also, he said studies are showing this vaccine to have about an 85 percent effective rate.

“We need to remember that just because we have a vaccine doesn’t mean this will go away,” Brown said. “Currently, we have vaccinated about nine percent of the state’s population. We are expecting a 45 percent take rate but would like to see a 70 percent take rate [overall].”

He concluded his report by saying, “Things are starting to look encouraging, but the death rates are still a concern. This was a good report, but I am looking forward to when I have no report.”

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