106 cases of coronavirus confirmed; Alabama clarifies restrictions

Updated: Mar. 20, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama now has more than 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The Alabama Department of Public Health released updated numbers shortly before 5 p.m. Friday.

These are the numbers by county:

  • Baldwin- 2
  • Calhoun- 1
  • Chambers - 1
  • Elmore- 6
  • Lee- 11
  • Jefferson- 50
  • Limestone- 1
  • Madison- 7
  • Mobile - 2
  • Montgomery- 3
  • Shelby- 10
  • St. Clair- 1
  • Talladega - 1
  • Tuscaloosa- 4
  • Walker – 1
  • Washington - 1

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an update Friday afternoon on the statewide public health order originally issued the day before.

Ivey’s updated order clarifies the restrictions on gatherings of 25 people or more, as well as child care.

Effective Friday, all non-work related gatherings of 25 persons or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent 6-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. Ivey said employers should take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.

Ivey said she has no intention of slowing down the workforce through “unnecessary, burdensome regulations.”

The updated order also specifies that day cares can remain open as long as 12 or more children are not allowed in a room at the same time.

“As our state works in overdrive to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are making decisions based on the best information we have in the moment. I have no doubt that as this situation rapidly unfolds, decisions will need to be evaluated and amended," said Ivey.

The state has put stringent restrictions on restaurants, hospital visitors, day cares, schools and beaches across the state.

These are other restrictions that will be in effect until April 5:

  • Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
  • Regular programs at senior citizen centers are to be ended, except that the Centers and their partners are urged to assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pickup or delivery.
  • All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
  • Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
  • In-person instruction and classes at all schools and colleges are prohibited.
  • All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.
  • Local boards of education may provide daytime special activities programs for some children ages 6 through 12. These programs may be held for children of essential employees of these employers: State and local governments, first responders (including EMS and fire services), law enforcement, hospitals, nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities), end-stage renal disease treatment centers, pharmacies and grocery stores.

ADPH has also released the following recommendations:

  • Hair, Nail, Massage and Tattoo Businesses: The department recommends businesses follow the CDC’s guidance for employers. The department recommends limiting the number of patrons and staff to less than 25, social distancing, no walk-ins, services by appointment only, spacing patrons in waiting areas, and posting signs not to enter and reschedule if ill.
  • Funerals, Weddings and Reunions (School and Family): Limiting the size of gatherings at such events is burdensome, but because of the increased risk of disease spread, the health order includes all gatherings. A request may be submitted in writing to the state health officer for a specific exception. These exceptions will be closely evaluated based on the ability to maintain social distancing and to limit the possibility of disease spread. It is suggested that families have private family services and hold larger services later.
  • Caregivers for Elderly and Disabled: Sitters for the elderly and disabled who assist with feeding, bathing and other essential life activities will be considered medically necessary. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting surfaces are strongly recommended. ADPH realizes that the 6 feet of social distancing cannot always be observed when bathing and changing patients. Please do not care for any of these fragile patients if you are experiencing any illness.

[Read the full details in the amended order here]

There are four main points hospitals and healthcare providers want all of us to know and continue to follow.

  1. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor first. Do not go to the doctor’s office unless you need immediate care. You do not want to expose others to your illness and if you are well, you do not want to be exposed to someone else. Stay home unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  2. Do not go to the emergency room unless you require critical, immediate care. Emergency rooms need to serve those with the most critical needs. Do not go to the emergency room for COVID-19 testing.
  3. There is a national blood shortage. If you are healthy and eligible, donate blood as soon as possible. Contact the Red Cross to find out where to donate and how to schedule an appointment.
  4. Avoid crowds of 10 or more people. Do not attend concerts, sports events, religious gatherings, movie theaters or use public transportation. People should also be at least six feet apart from one another.

The latest numbers from Baptist Health say on the fourth day of testing at Baptist’s Montgomery clinic, over 900 people called about symptoms, 65 people made appointments, and 25 people were screened.

[Latest headlines on the coronavirus pandemic]

If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline to find out about testing locations and options. That number is 1-888-264-2256.

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