MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE (8:20 p.m.): The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed a sixth case of COVID-19 in the state.
ADPH has confirmed cases in Elmore, Jefferson, Limestone, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa Counties. A sixth case has been found in someone “out of town” according to ADPH’s website.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will hold a press conference at 9 p.m.
WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
UPDATE (6:30 p.m.): The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed that there are five current cases of COVID-19 in the state.
UPDATE (5 p.m.): Alabama’s second case of coronavirus (COVID-19), a resident of Jefferson County, has been confirmed. Governor Ivey, along with state officials, made the announcement in a press conference Friday evening.
According to Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, state health officials have not yet confirmed three other preliminary cases.
Gov. Ivey also announced that starting March 18 all public K-12 schools in Alabama will have a two-and-a-half week break to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.
This information comes hours after the Alabama Department of Health (ADPH) announced the first confirmed case in the state.
ORIGINAL: Alabama’s first coronavirus (COVID-19) case has been confirmed.
Governor Kay Ivey made the initial announcement in a Friday press release. The Alabama Department of Public Health corroborated Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement in a press conference at 10 a.m. State health officials say rumors of cases in Alabama before Friday morning were untrue. This case was discovered and confirmed at 8 a.m. CT, they say.
The Maxwell Air Force Base says the first confirmed coronavirus patient is a civilian employee at the base. The employee had returned home after traveling to Illinois and reported feeling unwell. According to ADPH officials, this patient is a resident of Montgomery County and has self-isolated at home since becoming symptomatic. This person has chronic health conditions, and therefore, was considered a high-risk patient, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.
“The civilian employee is the first confirmed case in the state of Alabama,” said Col. Patrick Carley, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. “The individual is being evaluated and treated by health care professionals. The continued safety of our community is of utmost importance. We are working with our base medical staff and other off base health care agencies to ensure we mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in accordance with established CDC and DOD guidelines.”
The base says that it remains in Health Protection Condition Alpha, which means they will be reviewing plans, preparing for possible new cases and report them if they occur.
WATCH: ADPH Friday morning press conference:
“We believe we have a good plan in place. We believe Alabama is prepared,” said Dr. Harris.
Dr. Harris says ADPH will apply the $5 million emergency funding from the state legislature toward the opening of COVID-19 screening centers “in virtually every county.” The turnaround time for test results will be between 24 and 72 hours.
Officials are continuing to recommend people stay home when sick, avoid large gatherings of over 500 people, refrain from touching their face and stand at least six feet away from others.
WATCH: Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin speaks after Alabama’s first confirmed coronavirus case announced
According to Alabama State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eric Mackey, while state officials are not encouraging school closures, they are recommending the cancellation of large assemblies like plays and pep rallies. All large-scale school conferences will be cancelled at least through April 30. ADPH is not deviating from its current school policy.
It has been a week since Alabama began testing for coronavirus.
Read the governor’s statement in its entirety below:
Governor Kay Ivey on Friday, upon learning of Alabama’s first confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) case, released the following statement:
“Along with my fellow Alabamians, I have closely monitored the rapidly changing events regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a state, we have taken precautionary measures and made preparations in the case that the virus would eventually reach our state. As I have emphasized time and again, the safety and health of Alabamians is paramount.
“Alabamians are smart and savvy, and I know they will continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread to themselves or others. We have taken a calm and collected approach in preparation for this first confirmed case, and we need to remember that calm and steady wins the race. Alabamians should not be fearful, but instead, use commonsense to watch out for themselves and others. We will remain engaged on the matter and continue prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all Alabamians.
“I am grateful to the work of State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, as well as the members of my Coronavirus Task Force and countless individuals who are also watching and working on this situation closely.”
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris: “The Alabama Department of Public Health has worked hard to prepare and has anticipated receiving a report of the first case of COVID-19 in an Alabama resident. We continue to recommend that people be prudent and encourage them to use proper hygiene behaviors such as handwashing, not touching their faces with unwashed hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if they have fever. As a precaution, it is suggested that any gatherings of more than 500 people be postponed or canceled.”
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