East Alabama Medical Center is preparing for more patients as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in east Alabama.

There were seven patients hospitalized at EAMC Tuesday night with COVID-19 — one from an undisclosed nursing home, according to the hospital.

One patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged and 27 more patients are currently hospitalized with suspected, but not confirmed, cases of COVID-19, EAMC added.

“Like other hospitals, we have surge capacity contingency plans that have to be considered during times like these,” EAMC president and CEO Laura Grill said. “As such, we have made some changes to where we care for certain patient types so as to separate our non- COVID patients from our confirmed or suspected COVID patients.”

The number of confirmed cases in Lee County rose from 19 to 26 Tuesday night. Chambers County now has five confirmed cases, up from two, and Tallapoosa County has two confirmed cases, up from one, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“At this time, Lee County has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the state,” Grill said. “That makes us somewhat of a ‘hot spot’ for Alabama and so we are working very closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Hospital Association to monitor our situation.”

The age range of the patients who have tested positive is between 20 and 82. The symptoms of the patients range from mild to severe, EAMC said.

EAMC has submitted more than 700 collection kits to one of four laboratories. The number of collection kits includes the HealthPlus drive-thru site, EAMC’s emergency department, EAMC-Lanier’s drive-thru site and EAMC-Lanier emergency department. It does not include any kits that were submitted by area physicians, EAMC said.

A total of 416 tests have come back negative, while 252 tests were awaiting results as of Monday. The average time for a test to yield results is four days but some have taken up to seven days, said EAMC.

AU caseAuburn University has its first confirmed case of coronavirus in a student, Dr. Fred Kam, medical director the Auburn University Medical Clinic, told the Opelika-Auburn News Tuesday.

“An Auburn student has tested positive for SARS CoV-2 which causes COVID-19,” Kam said in an email.

The student is believed to have contracted the virus outside of the United States during spring break. The student lives off-campus, Kam added.

“This student has been taking all online classes since the beginning of this semester and posed no direct threat to the campus community,” said Kam.

Those who have come in direct contact with the student have been notified about the possible exposure and asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for at least 14 days, Kam said.

“The student, who lives off campus, is receiving all needed medical care under self-isolation, and Auburn is providing support to the student and family,” Auburn University spokesman Preston Sparks said.

AU move-out

The university sent an email to students Tuesday afternoon with further instructions regarding reimbursements for campus dining plans.

Students should log onto AU Access, click on the ‘My Finances tab’ and click ‘Refunds Fast and East’.

Not all students will receive the same refund. Prorated refunds will depend on the remaining balance in the account. The email provided a link where students can check their balances: https://get.cbord.com/auburn/full/prelogin.php.

“If your account balance is more than the prorated refund, the difference will be made available for the coming academic year,” the email added. “However, if you graduate this spring or summer and have remaining funds, please contact us at dining@auburn.edu.”

Students can move out their belongings on any weekend between March 27 through June 28, Auburn University Housing announced on Facebook page Tuesday evening.

The university initially planned to do move outs over the next two weekends, but it changed plans after complaints from students and parents.

“Our email earlier today about early move-out caused understandable concerns by many of you and your families,” the post said. “Please know your voices have been heard. Because your health and safety is Auburn’s top priority, we have adjusted the move-out plan to give you more flexibility and peace of mind.

“We are so sorry for any confusion and anxiety that may have been caused. We ask that you please disregard the previous information and move-out dates.”

The residence halls, during those weekends, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students also do not need to fill out any forms beforehand, the post added.

For any students who are not able to retrieve their belongings, Auburn University Housing will store them until the student is able to come.

State casesThe number of confirmed cases in Alabama has risen to 242. No deaths have been reported, ADPH said.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 91, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has 27 confirmed cases while Madison County has 21 confirmed cases.

Tuscaloosa County has 10 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Montgomery County has nine confirmed cases and Elmore County has eight confirmed cases. Mobile County has six confirmed cases Walker County has five confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Baldwin, St. Clair and Limestone counties have four confirmed cases each. Cullman and Lauderdale counties have three.

Calhoun, Jackson, Morgan and Talladega counties have two confirmed cases each.

Autauga, Franklin, Houston, Lamar, Marion and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

Hannah Lester contributed to this story

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