Montgomery’s confirmed COVID-19 cases triple in 24 hours, nearly 300 tests pending

Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 7:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Data obtained by WSFA 12 News confirms more than 400 people have been tested at clinics and hospitals in Montgomery and Prattville for the coronavirus.

At the time of this publication, nearly 300 people are awaiting results. While the number of cases in Montgomery tripled in less than 24 hours, it’s expected to spike in the coming days.

Montgomery EMA Director Christina Thornton says the low number of confirmed cases in Montgomery, which was at three for days, could give some a false sense of security.

“Look at New York, their numbers doubled overnight,” said Thornton. “As more and more of our tests get in we are going to see those numbers go up.”

Baptist Health confirms 39 patients with pending tests are currently admitted in their three facilities. They cited these patients are also awaiting results on a battery of unrelated tests as well. Jackson Hospital said Wednesday it had five patients admitted who were waiting for test results.

Based on our calculations, more than 160 patients have tested negative.

Officials note the new confirmed cases reported Tuesday represent patients who’ve been tested days ago and not reflective of the actual number of people who likely have the virus today. Data shows those who are infected often have the virus 10 days before experiencing symptoms.

“By no means is there a need to panic,” Thornton said. “We need to take this seriously.”

Baptist East admitted the state’s first confirmed coronavirus patient; he was released on March 17 in good health. This is the only confirmed case treated at a Baptist Facility to date.

Seven of Montgomery’s other positive cases were tested by Baptist Health’s Coronavirus Clinics. The data surrounding the county’s latest confirmed case was not immediately available.

Thornton says Montgomery County is working to stay ahead of the curve, managing the local pandemic response and procuring needed medical supplies.

“We’re trying to take care of our public safety, our firemen, our police officers to make sure that they’re able to still respond,” she said. “If you’re doing things that are just malicious to not keep up with what’s being advised, you could be putting your family, your grandparents, your children and your co-workers in jeopardy.”

Those who have COVID-19 symptoms are asked to call the Baptist Health hotline to speak to a clinician and make an appointment at 334-747-0150. Symptoms include a high fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

It’s important to note, those who test positive for COVID-19 are counted toward their home county, not the county where they were tested.

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If you develop symptoms for the coronavirus and need to be tested, call 1-888-264-2256.

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