CHAMBERS COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - “I do not want another phone call that we’ve lost another person in Chambers County,” said State Representative Debbie Wood, District 38.
The past few days have been tough for Representative Wood. Her friend’s mother died from COVID-19 and she knows another person who is “very sick” with the virus.
“We are praying right now that that person pulls through,” she said.
As of noon Tuesday, Chambers County had the most cases of COVID-19 per capita. According to data from the US Census Bureau, an estimated 33,254 people live in Chambers County. With 99 confirmed cases, .3% of the population is infected with the virus, or 30 per 10,000 people.
The rate is more than double Wilcox County, which has the second most cases per capita. Greene, Sumter and Walker Counties follow. Jefferson County, with an estimated population of 658,535 people and 445 cases as of mid-day Tuesday, has an infection rate of 7 per 10,000 people.
“You work very hard in a small community to be first at something, this is not what we worked hard at, I can tell you that,” said Representative Wood.
Representative Wood said it’s been difficult for people in her community to embrace social distancing.
“We have limited resources for entertainment, so we entertain ourselves by getting together. We have a lot of generational families that live here. We get together, we eat together, and we love on one another.”
She continued, “We are from the South. We love to hug, we love to touch, we love to say, ‘How are you?’ and be very intimate with one another and I think in this situation, it’s been very tough for us to social distance. We are learning the value of that, but it’s been slow, the curve has been slow for us. We are just a community that gets together a lot.”
Getting together socially and spiritually. East Alabama Medical Center, which has treated dozens of patients with coronavirus, has not found an absolute pattern with its patients, but did note the last public place many attended was church. In late March, it asked local churches to find another way to worship.
“It’s very difficult right now because we’ve been doing our church services online, Thank God for technology because without this, I don’t know what our people would be doing right now,” said Representative Wood.
Moving forward, Representative Wood said a curfew might be necessary, in addition to Governor Kay Ivey’s Stay at Home order.
“People are not taking this seriously as they need to. No one wants government to tell them anything but in this case, we are having to say, ‘Stay home, and if you don’t do this for your own good, there are going to be measures taken so you do not spread this virus farther’ and that’s all we are trying to say.”