Alabama confirms nearly 200 coronavirus cases

Updated: Mar. 23, 2020 at 4:51 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As of Monday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Public Health says there are now 196 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, up 29 since Monday morning.

Montgomery County now has four confirmed cases. Franklin, Houston, and Tallapoosa counties have confirmed cases as well, bringing the total number of counties with confirmed cases to 24.

It remains unclear how many people have recovered from the virus, but there have been no deaths reported so far.

These are the new numbers by county:

  • Baldwin - 3
  • Calhoun - 2
  • Chambers - 2
  • Cullman - 2
  • Elmore - 6
  • Franklin - 1
  • Houston - 1
  • Jackson - 1
  • Jefferson - 86
  • Lamar - 1
  • Lauderdale - 3
  • Lee - 19
  • Limestone - 1
  • Madison - 21
  • Marion - 1
  • Mobile - 2
  • Montgomery - 4
  • Shelby - 22
  • St. Clair - 3
  • Talladega - 1
  • Tallapoosa - 1
  • Tuscaloosa - 9
  • Walker - 3
  • Washington - 1

ADPH held a press conference Monday afternoon to offer updates on the outbreak. Dr. Scott Harris said according to state statistics, the victims of the disease range in age from two to 97 years old, with 6 to 7 percent hospitalized. More than half of the victims are male.

Harris said Gov. Kay Ivey is putting together a group to help get the state more testing materials, the lack of which is currently limiting the number of testing sites. Harris said he believes there are more cases in certain areas like Mobile but there is less testing happening there.

Right now, there are 17 ADPH sites, but the state is looking to have 25 open by the end of the week. This number does not include privately operated sites.

Harris said a group is looking to supply ventilators and other medical equipment to Alabama hospitals. He encourages donations of equipment as well.

Harris also reminded people that they do not need a test if they are not experiencing symptoms. ADPH would like to reserve tests for those experiencing symptoms, those with compromised immune systems, elderly people, and healthcare workers. Commercial labs are still available for people who do not meet those criteria.

ADPH has not made a recommendation for a stay at home order at this time, nor has the department issued additional health orders.

Baptist Health opened a new drive-up coronavirus care clinic in Prattville Monday. The clinic is located at 350 County Road 4 West. Baptist’s first drive-up clinic opened last week on 2936 Marti Lane and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You must call 334-747-0150 before going to a Baptist Health testing site. Testing is by appointment only.

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Ivy Creek Healthcare has opened a coronavirus clinic outside the Elmore Community Hospital Emergency Room. The clinic, operated inside a military-grade tent, will be open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ivy Creek Healthcare asks patients to call 334-514-3713 and get an appointment before arriving on-site. Screening criteria will be approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

State officials have also opened a new, toll-free number for people who develop symptoms and need to be tested. For more on how to get tested, you can call 1-888-264-2256. This is not a medical helpline.

As of Monday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Public Health says there are now 196...
As of Monday afternoon, the Alabama Department of Public Health says there are now 196 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state, up 29 since Monday morning.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

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.

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.

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