State Officials: No Coronavirus Cases Reported in Alabama
At a news conference this afternoon, leaders from the Alabama Dept. of Public Health, the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said that Alabama remains free of reported cases of coronavirus.
But State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says that he expects the state to eventually have reported cases. Currently, many of the states bordering Alabama have experienced coronavirus.
State School Supt. Dr. Eric Mackey says he is recommending that schools cancel spring break trips overseas or to coronavirus hot spots in the U.S., but he says those will be local decisions. He notes that schools will be on spring break at various times throughout the month of March.
Mackey says if a case is confirmed at a school, that school will be closed for 24-48 hours. He says the school will undergo a deep cleaning while the situation is assessed on whether to possibly keep the school closed for a longer period of time. He says factors in making that decision would include whether an infected teacher or student had a wide amount of contact with other people.
Mackey says he hopes parents would not overreact and keep their children at home when they have no symptoms. A student with a fever will be sent home and should not return until he or she is free of fever for 72 hours without the aid of medication.
Harris says the state health department is in a prevention/monitoring mode. People have been tested who have experienced symptoms, he said. Those results are usually available within a few hours.
Harris says his department is paying special attention to the elderly, who have a higher risk of death. He is in contact with nursing homes and assisted living facilities to make sure they are taking precautions and alerting visitors.
Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings pointed out that it’s not just schools and nursing homes that need to keep watch over possible cases, but business settings as well. He says dense work spaces and crowded conferences can also lead to the spread of the virus, should Alabama experience a case.