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Local COVID-19 deaths increase

Pike County recorded its fifth COVID-19 related death on Friday as the state reported more than 950 new cases.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health 10:15 a.m. update, Pike County has reported 382 total confirmed cases with five deaths since tracking began.

Statewide totals climbed to 33,717 cases with 887 confirmed deaths, with more than 9,950 of those cases reported in the last 14 days. The ADPH estimated 18,866 presumed recoveries.

Friday’s increase comes one day after the state set a new daily record of more than 1,100 cases on Thursday and is the third highest daily case increase since the start of the pandemic.

“Two weeks ago, we had bent the curve. Today, it is trending sharply up,” Sen. Doug Jones said in a news conference Thursday.

Dr. Jeanne M. Marrazzo, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said that there are some alarming indicators about the state of the outbreak, including a rise in the percentage of tests that are coming back positive in Alabama.

“People have been increasingly alarmed that over the last 10 days, two weeks we have continued to see marked increases in the number of cases reported,” Marrazzo said.

Dr. Don Williamson, a former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose in the weeks after the Memorial Day weekend.

“I’m really, really worried about the Fourth of July. I think that will likely determine the trend for Alabama for the rest of the summer,” Williamson said Wednesday.