MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 for the Alabama Department of Public Health, you can email them or call them. For general #COVID19 questions, call 1-800-270-7268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone calls are answered from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
The Alabama Department of Public Health provides an update with the latest regarding the coronavirus.
State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says that there are 196 confirmed cases statewide. The age ranges from those cases are 2 years old to 97 years old. Harris says 6-7% of the cases are hospitalized and 53% of the patients are male.
Jefferson County has the highest number of cases with 86, which is half of the total cases in the state.
Dr. Harris says that they are gradually increasing the number of tests that can be performed. Also one of the continuing problems is finding swabs and tubes to collect and transport the samples.
Harris says that they have been told that they are on their own when it comes to finding supplies. Due to the high demand, all of the Alabama health officials are all competing with each other to get the needed supplies. But the Governor’s office has put together a group to find the materials.
There are now 17 screening sites associated with public health and hospital associations set up across the state at this time. Health officials are hoping to have 25 sites functional by the end of the week.
Health officials say that everyone will not need to be tested. They only need to test people who are actually showing symptoms. Those who do not have symptoms are using the valuable supplies that are needed for those who may actually have the sickness.
Dr. Harris says it is also important to give blood donations. He says that there is no reason to avoid donating blood, as the need for the blood is severe.
Health officials say that some facilities feel “pressed” on the number of available ventilators. But they are working to address that and looking into ways to source more ventilators from out of state, as ventilators seem the be working the best.
When it comes to the coronavirus testing, the public health lab is trying to have results within 72 hours, and commercial labs say it’s taking more than a week.
During the press conference, Dr. Harris says there was a reported issue of 500 spoiled test samples in Tuscaloosa. Harris says that was due to incorrect handling and refrigeration issues.
Dr. Harris says that they grateful for the anonymous donor who gave 100,000 masks. He also encourages companies who may use these products to donate them to hospitals and providers to help protect the doctors and staff. Because infections among healthcare staff can severely hurt their ability to care for patients.
When it comes to Alabama’s health guidelines that are in place, Dr. Harris says that Alabamians should be prepared that the quarantines could be extended past the April 6th deadline. But there is not a way to tell until we are closer to that date. Also, it won’t be determined until Health officials evaluate the status and conditions of the state around closer to that time.
Dr. Harris says it not clear that if you get COVID-19 if you can contract the virus again.
The U.S. now has over 41,000 confirmed cases and 570 coronavirus deaths.