ASHFORD, Ala. (WDHN) — Not only has the CDC released new guidances but they have added new symptoms for COVID-19 as well, including diarrhea and stuffy or runny nose.

Southeast Health Dr. Justin Hovey says another list was also released, a list no city should want to a part of: Dothan has made its way to the top 50 of a list of cities with rising COVID-19 cases.

“The new guidelines from the CDC that were recently released, particularly I want people to focus on the new symptoms that have been added, particularly diarrhea, and it’s actually been a symptom that we have seen a little more often than what we were told initially,” said ACOM Ashford Clinic Medical Director, Dr. Justin Hovey.

Hovey has seen patients with diarrheal illnesses as a symptom and half of those patients ended up testing positive for the virus. Along with new symptoms, the CDC also removed the age threshold for those who can be affected by the virus.

“So we are seeing it from children all the way up until geriatric age, and the reason that that was removed has a lot to do with some of the patients that we see that are younger that have comorbid conditions, but even some of the healthy young people we see are getting very ill from the virus itself,” Hovey said.

Obesity, hypertension, and type 1 & 2 diabetes are all listed as higher risk factors for worse outcomes from COVID-19. The thought has shifted from COVID being seen as a respiratory illness to a vascular disease.

“Diabetes, in general, is what we call a vascular disease, and the way we are starting to look at this virus now is that we are looking at its kind of from the perspective of it being a vascular virus, meaning-affecting blood vessels and affecting all types of organs,” Hovey explained.

Above all Hovey wants people to realize this is a real health issue and not a political hoax. He said we have lost more people in the past 4 months than we did in the Korean and Vietnam war combined.

“Everywhere that I go to I do not see people wearing masks or taking the precautions that are necessary and that is why Dothan is number 48 now in the number of cities in the united states with the fastest rate of rise of COVID. So we need to take things seriously in the community right now because things are about to go from bad to worse,” Hovey said.

Hovey said we are still in the first wave of the pandemic, and this is not yet the second wave of COVID-19. He fears that there will be an overlap between the two waves if people do not begin wearing their masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines