MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, Ala. — Although North Alabama has seen a steady drop in COVID-19 cases recently, the steep decline in cases has leveled out.
With football games going on and Labor Day weekend coming up, health officials in Madison County say it's very important now to continue with COVID-19 precautions.
Crestwood Medical Center CEO, Dr. Pam Hudson, said, "What we do today predicts illness and positive test rates between the time frame of September 10th and 14th and predicts the number of hospitalizations we'll have between September 14th and 21st."
School districts in Madison County are now allowing students to return to class in person after Labor Day weekend. Madison Mayor Paul Finley says they are working with their schools to make going back safer.
"One of the areas of concern that they had is some of the teachers that were high risk and their need to possibly continue to do the virtual side," said Mayor Finley. "Being able to use our Three Springs facility, we're working right now to wire up for internet at the level it needs to be to hold things virtually. All those factors were contributing to the Madison City Schools decision to start the process of bringing kids back into the schools."
Some local nursing homes and care facilities experienced a recent surge in coronavirus case numbers. Hospital leaders say these types of outbreaks are concerning; however, there's not necessarily a link to hospitalizations.
"Many times those populations are ones that are at high risk, so yes we would be concerned," said Dr. Hudson. "But as they test more, we're going to find that, and not all those organizations have been able to test since the beginning, so some of this is just a testing phenomenon that was already there, and the tests are showing up positive now."
Over the last three weeks, hospitalizations have come down 27% in Madison County.
WATCH: Madison City Schools return to in-person learning ahead of schedule