The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide up-to-date information about the ways to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has no reports of COVID-19 in Alabama.
ADPH reminds the public to follow normal precautions to prevent illness and the spread of disease. Preventative measures include frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home when sick.
Several types of common respiratory viruses are circulating, both in the United States and Alabama, including common coronavirus types, common colds, and influenza. Since current respiratory outbreaks may make it hard to identify an outbreak of this new coronavirus, the public is reminded to get flu vaccine if they have not received one.
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. CDC advises the public to avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. The CDC 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 having COVID-19 or any other urgent health situation, seek medical care right away. Persons, 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. 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.