Photo: USAF / Corey Hook
By Jack Helean / ABC 3340
As of Friday, Feb. 28 there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Alabama, but officials at the Alabama Department of Public Health want the public to know that they are preparing to be ready if and when the new virus from China does show up in Alabama.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides continuous updates to ADPH about the ways to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
ADPH wants to remind the public to follow normal precautions to prevent illness and the spread of disease, including frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home when sick.
In the coming days, additional cases of COVID-19 are likely to be identified in the United States and person-to-person spread will occur. The CDC advises the public to avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. The CDC also cautions there is sustained community transmission of COVID-19 in Iran, Italy and Japan. Other locations experiencing community spread are Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
If a person suspects they may have COVID-19, seek medical care right away. You, however, are asked to call ahead and notify staff about recent travel and symptoms before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
No test or treatment for COVID-19 is available at doctors’ offices or urgent cares currently. Those who need to be hospitalized are the patients who will be tested. That is because hospital staff are trained to isolate and evaluate persons with respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The following are steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 for people with symptoms:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
- Monitor your symptoms
- With a medical emergency when calling 911, notify the dispatcher about your condition
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask. To help prevent the spread of the infection to others, facemask may be worn if people show symptoms of COVID-19. The use of facemasks, however, is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and ADPH will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. More information can be found by clicking “Coronavirus” on the home page of alabamapublichealth.gov/.
The Alabama Dept. of Public Health and the CDC plan to hold a news conference on Monday, March 2 to provide more information. It will be livestreamed on ABC 33/40’s Facebook Page.