CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 34,000 people live in Chambers County, yet it’s a coronavirus hotspot and one of the hardest-hit areas for COVID-19 in the state.
“Hotspot means that per capita, per people here versus the number of people in other counties and the cases that we all have, that Chambers County has more confirmed cases than any other county. So in essence, we have nearly 29 cases for every 10,000 people, which is more than double the rate of any other county,” said Chambers County EMA Deputy Director, Kathy Hornsby.
In a county as tight-knit as Chambers, officials say that everyone feels the impact.
“This thing has impacted all of us. When you live in a small community, a small county like Chambers County, everybody knows everybody. So we’ve all been affected because we all lost friends and loved ones. We are a small county where people are so used to hugging and greeting one another, you know, with a handshake and I feel like that’s part of it,” said Chambers County Commission Chairman, Douglas Jones, Jr.
Officials say that it’s important for everyone to stay at home.
“When there’s a threat that you can’t see, it makes it harder to believe. New data from CDC indicates that as many as 25 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 remain asymptomatic, they have no symptoms at all. And with so many people being contagious and not having any symptoms or having only mild symptoms, it’s easy for the virus to spread quickly. It’s extremely important that our community, that we see 100 percent of our community practicing social distancing,” Hornsby said.
With Easter approaching, Jones says that churches should look into alternate ways of having service.
“We’re having to do churches different now. At my church, you know, I pastor in a rural area. Not everyone has internet. So I’m doing phone conferences. We’re still having church, but we’re having to do it a different way. So what we got to do now is still check on our loved ones, but we just have to do it a different way,” Jones said.
Officials urge anyone experiencing symptoms to call 1-334-528-SICK and only call 911 in the case of an emergency.
“Please only use 911 for emergencies, and if you have difficulty breathing or having shortness of breath, have a heart attack or stroke, have a fever, or severe pain and you’re confused, disoriented or dizzy, absolutely call 911 right away for any type of emergency that you have. If you do call 911 and you think you may have been exposed or you have tested positive, please let the dispatchers know that so that our emergency personnel can protect themselves and protect you before they arrive on the scene at your house," Hornsby said.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, eight Chambers County residents have died from coronavirus.