Calhoun County hosts COVID-19 testing clinic, prepares for vaccines

Preparing for COVID-19 vaccinations in Anniston

CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Calhoun County residents jammed a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site Wednesday as cases rise in the county.

This while Calhoun County healthcare workers are preparing to distribute the coronavirus vaccine once they receive the doses.

When that will happen will be another story. The head of the county’s EMA said the state will not send any doses of the vaccine to Calhoun County when the first round of the vaccine is distributed.

Michael Barton says he has no idea why the county was left out of the distribution.

“We do expect those first rounds to be prioritized for our health, EMS, long term care and physicians that are on the front lines and are taking care of people with this disease. So we appreciate all those efforts that are going into that,” Barton said at a news conference Wednesday.

Barton says there are two COVID-19 vaccination strike teams - one run by Regional Medical Center and the other by the state department of public health.

This as the Calhoun County EMA held a rapid-testing clinic with help from the state department of public health.

The clinic was supposed to close at 2 p.m., but by 1 p.m. they’d already run out of tests.

All of this as the county has broken a new record - more than a thousand positive tests in the last two weeks.

“[There is] definitely a need for it in the community right now, as cases have increased as were expected and predicted by the experts, the unified command wanted to be sure to be able to provide the accessible and affordable testing locally, and that’s what we continue to do,” Barton added.

A doctor who works in infectious diseases at Regional Medical Center, Dr. Almena Free, says some 53 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in three units dedicated to the disease.

The tests in Wednesday’s clinic were self-administered.

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