Coffee County EMA director James Brown and Sheriff Dave Sutton each had “be careful” warnings for citizens on different subjects Monday morning, Jan. 10, during the Coffee County Commission meeting.
A face-covered Brown began his remarks by saying, “You know what I am going to talk about. You see me wearing a face mask.”
With that, he added that COVID virus cases had really been expanding in the state and local area recently, saying Coffee County had seen a four-fold increase in just the past two weeks.
“Two weeks ago, we had about 2,500 cases in the state over a 7-day period,” Brown said. “Today, we have 51,733 cases over a 7-day period.”
He said this latest surge of COVID [and its variants] seems to be moving from north to south across the state. Therefore, he said he expected the local area numbers to continue to increase for now.
Brown said that anticipated increase in numbers locally already was showing up in that Coffee County had seen 430 new positive cases just over the past seven days (as of Monday morning). He said that is about 60 new cases per day.
Also, Brown said hospitalizations across the state had been increased over the past few weeks going from 412 people in Alabama hospitals with COVID two weeks ago to 1,660 people in the hospital diagnosed with the virus as of Monday.
“We are just asking everyone to be cautious,” Brown said. “Start thinking about personal protections such as wearing masks, getting the vaccine, and staying away from large groups.”
He added that CDC guidelines for COVID now call for those affected by the virus to stay home quarantined for five days and then wear a protective mask another five days after exiting quarantine.
Following Brown’s words of caution regarding COVID, Sheriff Sutton had a different message of caution for citizens. He urged citizens to be more vigilant about the things they post on social media platforms including Facebook.
“What you post on Facebook [or other social media sites] is read by more people than you want to read it,” the sheriff said. “Be careful what you post out there.”
He especially warned of not posting about being gone from home for several days on vacations and/or posting while gone from home. He said the sheriff’s department had encountered a few incidents where officers asked residents how folks knew they were gone from home, and the answer was “probably because we posted on Facebook.”
“The bad guys look at that too,” Sutton said.
In other business during Monday’s Commission meeting, commissioners voted to move forward with the vacation of a portion of County Road 173 as petitioned by landowners. A public hearing was held at the beginning of Monday’s meeting on the topic, and no one was in attendance to speak on the matter.
Also, county engineer Marty Lentz presented the Fiscal Year 2021 County Rebuild Alabama Annual Report for Coffee County, which he said would be filed with the state. Four county roads received repaving work in Fiscal Year 2021 with Rebuild Alabama funds, and each project is 100 percent complete now, according to Lentz.
The roads that had resurfacing work completed were County Roads 420, 422, 423, and 248. Lentz said a total of 8.96 miles of roadway was resurfaced, and $810,833 of Rebuild Alabama funding was expended on these projects.
Lentz said the full report could be viewed on the county’s website.
The next Coffee County Commission meeting will be Monday, Jan. 24, at 9 a.m. in New Brockton, Ala.