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COVID cases show dramatic drop in last week

Even with new variants being seen across the country, the number of positive COVID-19 cases is declining in Escambia County.

Danny Cottrell, a local pharmacist, believes the main reason behind the drop is the increased number of vaccinated individuals in the county.

“We are finally starting to get bigger numbers of vaccinated people,” Cottrell said. “Some people have gotten the virus and have some natural immunity as well.”

Cottrell said the drop in the number of cases locally is following the same data seen in other places.

“This is the same pattern that the Delta variant had in England,” Cottrell said. “They saw the variant cause a lot of cases for about six weeks, then it began to fall off there. That’s what we’re seeing here. Our biggest number of cases happened on Aug. 20. Those numbers began to drop  and we are seeing fewer and fewer cases now.”

Cottrell also said that Escambia County saw the Delta variant soon after it was detected in America.

“We got hit early and got hit hard,” Cottrell said, referring to Escambia County. “Some other counties in the state are just now hitting their peak in cases.”

Cottrell credits the vaccine with helping those numbers fall here and in other places across the country.

“Back on Aug. 1, we only had about 24 percent of our residents vaccinated,” Cottrell said. “Now, we have about 37 percent vaccinated. I continue to recommend that people get vaccinated if they haven’t already. It is the best defense against the virus and all its variants.”

Cottrell said that in addition to being vaccinated, common sense approaches to being in public still make the good sense.

“If you are going to be in a group of people, think about who you’re with and if they pose a threat,” Cottrell said. “If you know everyone has had the vaccine, then go ahead and enjoy yourself,” Cottrell said. “If you’re not sure of the status of the people you are going to be in close contact with, just be careful. Avoid those places if you can, or at least try a mask.”

As of Tuesday, the Alabama Department of Public Health has changed the status of the virus transmission for Escambia County, moving from “high” to “substantial” due to the drop in the number of positive test results.

The ADPH COVID-19 dashboard shows that Escambia County has a 7.9 percent positivity rate in tests for the virus. The number of tests administered in the previous week were 305 with only 24 positive results.

Escambia County has had 73 deaths attributed to the virus in 2021 with 51 deaths in 2020. The total number of cases reported in the county for 2021, so far, is 3,855.

In the school systems in the county for the past week, Brewton City Schools have reported no new cases among students or staff. The system recently relaxed the mask mandate. They are no longer required, but are recommended.

The Escambia County School System reported 12 new cases among students and staff throughout the county. No new information has been provided concerning mask mandates within the system.

All students, in both Brewton and Escambia County Schools, who ride school buses are still required to wear masks while riding the bus.