Still no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama, officials say

State Health Officer  Scott Harris says there are still no confirmed coronavirus cases in...
State Health Officer Scott Harris says there are still no confirmed coronavirus cases in Alabama as of March 12.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health called a news conference Thursday afternoon to update the public on efforts to prevent COVID-19, or coronavirus, in the state.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, as of Thursday, Alabama remains clear of any confirmed cases of the respiratory virus. More than 40 states have confirmed cases, including every surrounding state.

Harris said all coronavirus testing requests are currently going through the ADPH in Montgomery, and no testing will be done at county health departments. ADPH has been testing for one week and as of late Wednesday has conducted less than 50 tests. This does not include CDC tests or private testing.

Harris said ADPH has the ability to run 150 tests per day.

Harris said ADPH is urging people to avoid large mass gatherings of 500 or more people, though there is no call at this point to close any schools. ADPH also recommends staying six feet away from others if out in public.

The elderly and those with health issues should scale back on public activities, Harris said. He also said anyone who thinks they are sick should stay home and call a health professional. The health professional will ask questions and will determine if a test needs to be conducted. If it does, they will contact the ADPH, which will arrange for testing to occur.

Earlier Thursday, the Alabama Legislature approved a $5 million appropriation for coronavirus preparations. The legislation was later approved by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.