Alabama Dept. of Public Health monitoring Coronavirus

Alabama Dept. of Public Health monitoring Coronavirus

By WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala – If you traveled to mainland China and returned to the U.S. on or after Jan. 22, 2020, the Alabama Department of Health would like to speak to you.

The state health department is asking those who meet these travel criteria to call the Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374 as soon as they arrive in Alabama.

China is in the midst of an outbreak of the coronavirus. It has infected more than 14,000 people worldwide and killed more than 300. The vast majority of the cases and all but one of the deaths have been in China.

Health officials believe it can take up to two weeks for someone who is infected to get sick.

In a press release, Medical Officer of Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Burnestine Taylor said “[r]isk depends on exposure, so those exposed to ill persons are at greater risk of infection. However, the situation is evolving, and risk will depend on how efficiently the virus spreads, and how sick it makes people.”

Taylor said exposure includes, but is not limited to, travel to mainland China or close contact with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set interim exposure risk categories and movement restrictions for individuals who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. ADPH will use these categories to determine requirements for returning travelers until two weeks after leaving mainland China.

At this time, no cases have been identified in Alabama. However, the situation could effect local businesses.

“Some of our [home decor] suppliers are in Hubei province,” said Vice President of Caffco International Rush Thompson. “Our factories are in Guangdong province so we aren’t that close but we are still affected.”

Thompson said the Montgomery-based group’s factories were supposed to reopen after Chinese New Year on Feb. 5, but the Chinese government has mandated all business to stay closed in the area until Feb.10.

“It’s already going to delay shipments but if manufacturers can’t get back up and running soon it will have a big impact on the global supply chain,” he added.

The risk categories, according to the CDC and ADPH, are as follows:

High Risk: (Stay at home. No public activities. Daily active monitoring by ID&O staff for two weeks after last exposure.)

  • Travel from Hubei Province, China.
  • Living in the same household as, being an intimate partner of, or providing care in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) for a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection without using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation.
  • The same risk assessment applies for the above-listed exposures to a person diagnosed clinically with 2019-nCoV infection outside of the United States who did not have laboratory testing.

Medium Risk: (Remain home. Avoid congregate settings such as classrooms, shared offices, churches, public transportation, and remain out of public places where close contact with others may occur. Daily active monitoring by ID&O for two weeks after last exposure.)

  • Travel from mainland China outside Hubei Province
  • Living in the same household as, an intimate partner of, or caring for a person in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) to a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection while consistently usingrecommended precautions for home care and home isolation.
  • Close contact with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection, and not having any exposures that meet a high-risk definition.
  • The same risk assessment applies for close contact with a person diagnosed clinically with 2019-nCoV infection outside of the United States who did not have laboratory testing.
  • On an aircraft, being seated within 6 feet of a traveler with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection; this distance correlates approximately with 2 seats in each direction.
  • AND not having any exposures that meet a high-risk definition

Low Risk (No restrictions unless symptoms develop at which time they should contact ID&O immediately. Self-Observation – report development of symptoms to ID&O immediately.)

  • Being in the same indoor environment (a classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection for a prolonged period of time but not meeting the definition of close contact.
  • On an aircraft, being seated within two rows of a traveler with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection but not within 6 feet AND not having any exposures that meet a medium- or a high-risk definition.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.