As the coronavirus spreads worldwide and the number of confirmed cases in the United States increases, the state’s top health official says Alabama is in a “prevention stance” and encourages Alabamians to prepare for this virus like they do the flu.
“This is a situation that is changing very quickly,” Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told Alabama Daily News on Thursday.
Since the outbreak was first reported in China in late 2019, the Alabama Department of Public Health has monitored more than 100 Alabamians who have returned from China and other places the virus is known to be, Harris said.
That monitoring includes making daily phone calls to check on the individuals and encouraging “social distancing,” avoiding large crowds and public places.
Harris this week sent the state’s universities and colleges letters with guidance about limiting for at least 14 days public interactions for anyone returning from China or any other country with active community transmission.
A few of the Alabamians being monitored have presented coronavirus symptoms, which are similar to flu symptoms, but no one has tested positive for the new disease, referred to as COVID-19.
Harris said Alabamians should be aware of the developing situation, “There is no need to be afraid, since we don’t have community transmissions in our state.” Read more.
Updated — Alabama has made significant progress in infant mortality rates, teen pregnancies and child safety, but poverty and a racial disparity in indicators of wellbeing remain a problem for children in the state, according to a report released today.
The report, called the Alabama Kids Count Data Book, explores 70 key indicators across four issue areas: health, safety, education and economic security. The Montgomery-based nonprofit group Voices for Alabama’s Children has produced the data book every year since 1994.
Angela Thomas, communications manager for Voices, said that while the state’s child population has decreased, it has also become more ethnically diverse. And that trend follows national demographics.
Despite the diversity, African American children track below their white peers in every indicator covered in the data book, she said.
“Alabamians of color are overrepresented in measures of disadvantage,” she said. Read more.