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No cases of COVID-19 in state

By Kendra Majors

Andalusia Star-News

Alabama Department of Public Health officials say no cases of Covid-19 have been reported or identified in Alabama. 

Covid-19 is a new coronavirus that has infected many across the world. 

On Monday morning, ADPH officials including State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Brain Hastings, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and Dr. Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, spoke at press conference to update Alabamians on the situation. 

Officials said Alabama agencies and hospitals are prepared to handle Covid-19, if he were to spread in the state. 

ADPH said they have monitored more than 100 and tested others with respiratory illness systems. 

So far, none have come back positive. 

Harris told those gathered Monday that the best defense is good hygiene. 

“We feel very comfortable to say the disease is not circulating in our community,” Harris said. It is still not widely circulating in the U.S. and not a high risk for people in Alabama.”

Williamson and Hastings said both Alabama hospitals and emergency personnel have established plans to handle patients diagnosed with Covid-19. 

Last week, Merrill South, spokesperson for Andalusia Health said, “Andalusia Health is well aware of the preparation needed to protect our staff and patients from coronavirus.  Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people; numerous other coronaviruses circulate among animals.  At Andalusia Health, we are requiring that anyone who presents to the hospital with flu-like symptoms wear a mask.  We are taking extra precautions at all access points to the facility, monitoring patients and potential patients for temperatures, cough and shortness of breath – symptoms of coronavirus as defined by the Center for Disease Control.  Our staff continues to observe excellent hand hygiene and disinfect objects and surfaces.  We continue to coordinate with the Alabama Hospital Association and other state and national entities to ensure that we are protecting and caring for our community.  As it is our mission to make communities healthier, it is also important that we protect them from harmful outbreaks such as this.”

To keep from getting Covid-19 locals are encouraged to wash hands with soap and water, cover coughs and avoid others who are ill. 

It is also recommended that those who haven’t received the flu shot get one to protect themselves. 

Williamson clarified that face masks can help those who present symptoms from spreading germs, but they do not help healthy people.