TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox opened a news conference Wednesday with the statistic that 20,000 more people will arrive in Tuscaloosa in the next couple of weeks.
Students and staff will move back to Tuscaloosa increasing the population substantially.
Maddox said given the data and the fact Tuscaloosa County’s positive COVID-19 rate is over 11 percent, that could mean 2,000-plus more people in the county could get sick. He said that could possibly mean 200+ more people admitted to DCH Regional Medical Center.
Maddox said with those numbers you can’t question the impact that more people means more numbers, and not acting will do more harm to the health care system and the economy than not taking necessary actions, including restrictions.
Talking about the increase in COVID-19 patients at DCH, Maddox said hospital leaders said the COVID-19 situation is “manageable, but fragile.”
The Tuscaloosa City Council voted Tuesday to give Mayor Walt Maddox emergency powers and to declare a state of emergency amid new concerns over the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city.
That Emergency Order includes several recommendations Maddox presented to the council Tuesday night:
- Reduce bar occupancy to 50 percent after 9:00 p.m.
- Reduce experience/entertainment venue occupancy to 25 percent (during all times)
- End “bar” service at restaurants at 9:00 p.m. (still order from the table)
Maddox listed several reasons why a state of emergency is needed in Tuscaloosa:
- DCH Health System is experiencing higher number of inpatient COVID-19 and deaths are on the rise
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been activated for 30 days to assist with Alternate Care Site for planning for medical surge issues
- The ability to move at the speed of COVID-19 crisis
- Summer was supposed to be a time of reprieve, and the fall is expected to be worse with the beginning of flu season
- The arrival of 20,000 plus citizens over the next several weeks
- The demands on workforce over the next several months
Maddox said he could sign the state of emergency Wednesday night or Thursday morning, and it could be in effect starting at 5:00 p.m. Thursday.