Health officials are asking residents to shelter in place at home as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Lee and Chambers counties, East Alabama Medical Center said Sunday night.
Sheltering in place means that residents should stay at home with immediate family members only. Residents should not leave their homes except for essential activities such as food, medical care or work, according to EAMC.
“You should not host gatherings of people outside of your immediate family,” a news release from EAMC reads. “You should also maintain a 6-foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces.”
EAMC is also advising businesses that are still able to be open to screen their employees before allowing them to enter.
If businesses are not able to check the temperature of their employees, EAMC provides the following questions to ask employees:
- Do you have a cough?
- Are you having difficulty breathing?
- Do you have muscle aches or body aches?
- Do you feel like you have a fever?
- Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days?
- Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days?
- Do you feel sick in any way?
If an employee answer yes to any of these symptoms, especially numbers 1-4, employers should strongly consider sending them back home and telling them to self-quarantine, EAMC said.
Local cases and testingThe number of confirmed cases in Lee County rose to 16 while the number of confirmed cases in Chambers County rose to two Sunday.
There are now 157 confirmed cases in Alabama. No deaths have been reported.
Lee County had 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Chambers County had one confirmed case as of Saturday night, according to ADPH.
EAMC continues to test patients for COVID-19 at its HealthPlus drive-thru testing site.
The hospital collected specimen samples from more than 500 people as of Sunday to submit for testing. The specimens collected were sent for testing at one of four labs.
Testing of the specimen has slowed due to the amount of testing taking place nationwide. It is now taking about 4-5 days for test results compared to 2-3 days, EAMC said.
EAMC plans to have one lane open Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at its HealthPlus testing location by appointment only. However, testing may be suspended at the site for periods due to weather.
Appointment can only be made through the 334-528-SICK hotline.
Local supportEAMC has been sending daily updates to city, county and school officials for more than two weeks, the hospital said.
EAMC President and CEO Laura Grill met with Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and Auburn Mayor Ron Anders via phone Sunday.
“Grill opened with an assessment of where EAMC stands at this point and then listened as each mayor talked about steps their cities had taken, including the closure of some services,” the release reads. “When asked by the mayors how they could help the most right now, Grill responded by asking each mayor to stress to their residents the importance of sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.”
Both Fuller and Anders pledged to do what Grill requested and said that they are looking at other ways to offer their support during the pandemic, EAMC said.
State casesThere were 131 confirmed cases in Alabama as of Saturday night. Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 71, according to ADPH.
Shelby County has the second most confirmed cases of any county in the state with 17 confirmed cases.
Madison County has 16 confirmed cases. Elmore County has six confirmed cases and Tuscaloosa County has seven confirmed cases, according to the health department.
Montgomery and St. Clair counties have three confirmed cases each.
Baldwin, Cullman, Lauderdale and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.
Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.
For the health department’s latest figures, visit http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html.