This a running update compiled by the Dothan Eagle concerning news and advisories related to the coronavirus focusing on the local, state, regional and national level.
Update: Thursday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.
Jackson County reports positive COVID-19 case
MARIANNA – The Jackson County Health Department in Florida announced on Thursday a positive case of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jackson County. The individual is a 33-year-old male with a domestic and international travel history. He sought medical care, is isolated and will continue to remain isolated until cleared by public health officials.
“We are working closely with the patient, close contacts and healthcare providers to determine what additional COVID-19 testing may be required,” said Jackson County Health Officer Sandy Martin. “We are also coordinating with local and state officials to ensure proper precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus. I want to stress that social distancing is key to protect those who are most at risk – individuals age 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions.”
Update: Thursday, March 19, 5:25 p.m.
Alzheimer’s Conference postponed
The 31st annual Alzheimer’s Conference scheduled for April 21 has been postponed until Wednesday, June 10, at the Dothan Civic Center. For more
Update: Thursday, March 19, 2:55 p.m.
Alabama closes beaches, implements other restrictions
MONTGOMERY – Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Thursday issued a statewide health order to aid in Alabama’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here are the details to the statewide order through April 5:
>> All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This order shall apply to all gatherings, events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
>> Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
>> All beaches will be closed effective today at 5 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
>> Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with: state and local governments, first responders (including EMS and fire services), law enforcement, hospitals, nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities), end stage renal disease treatment centers, pharmacies and grocery stores.
>> Effective immediately, all hospitals and nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
>> All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.
“Despite our best efforts, the threat of the Covid-19 virus continues to spread and, unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact, Ivey said. “The decision to place regulations upon Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties was an effort to contain the area in which the virus has been prevalent in our state.
“As of this morning, 68 individuals have tested positive for the Coronavirus in Alabama. While I am pleased that many of our citizens are self-regulating and are practicing social distancing, we want to ensure that Alabama is doing our part to flatten the curve.
“Closing Alabama beaches is not a simple decision but one that I came to with the consultation of our elected officials along the coast and members of my administration.”
After announcing the restrictions, Gov. Kay Ivey's office released the following clarification from the governor: “I am working with Dr. Harris to bring clarity and provide further information regarding today’s order on social distancing and the impact upon our workforce. My intent is to keep the Alabama economy moving, and I will do everything to ensure this happens.”
Update: Thursday, March 19, 1:20 p.m.
Masses offered on-air, online
While public Masses in the Archdiocese of Mobile, which includes Catholic churches in the Wiregrass, have been suspended through April 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several ways people can watch the Mass from home, according to the archdiocese.
The Mass for Homebound has been a vital ministry of the Archdiocese of Mobile for decades. It airs at 10:30 a.m. Sundays throughout the southern half of Alabama.
The Mass can be viewed as follows:
- Dothan – Scenic Cable Channel 304 and Local WOW 6
- Mobile – WJTC Channel 44
- Montgomery – Spectrum Reach Channel 181
The Mass to air on Sunday, March 22, was recorded March 10 – before public Masses in the archdiocese were suspended. Future airings of the Mass for Homebound will not include a congregation.
In addition, private Mass celebrated by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi will air daily on the Archdiocese of Mobile’s website (www.mobarch.org) at 8 a.m. and will remain on the website throughout the day.
Several parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Mobile will be taking the step of broadcasting private Masses. Please visit Facebook.com/TheCatholicWeek for an updated list of viewing opportunities or see the upcoming March 27 edition of “The Catholic Week.”
Ozark takes steps to minimize COVID-19 exposure
The City of Ozark has outlined steps it is taking to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in the community by limiting exposure.
All city offices will remain open with limited access. The public is asked to use the front door of city hall as all other entrances will be locked. Before entering everyone will be asked a few health questions and temperature will be monitored by trained Fire and EMS Personnel. Only five people at one time will be allowed entrance.
Municipal Court payments may be made in person, online at www.ozarktickets.com or you may call the magistrate at 334-774-9311 for assistance.
Business license renewals, building permits and garbage payments can be made in person, or call Beth Grider at 334-774-7032 concerning questions you may have.
All other questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s Office at 334-774-5393.
>> All recreation programs, including youth sports, are suspended until further notice.
>> The swimming program should open as scheduled in April.
>> The Crawdad Festival has been postponed until late May. A date will be announced as soon possible.
>> The tennis courts, Dale County Lake, and the playgrounds are still open to the public. People are asked to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people as encouraged by the CDC.
Update: Thursday, March 19, 10:15 a.m.
ADPH reporting 68 confirmed cases
MONTGOMERY — Alabama's total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has increased to 68 as of Thursday morning, according to the county breakdown posted on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website.
Although the first confirmed case in the Wiregrass was reported in Dothan by Southeast Health and ADPH Wednesday, Houston County is not listed in the ADPH’s county breakdown. The update lists no positive tests reported in the Wiregrass area. Houston County's confirmed case is an out-of-state resident, and ADPH does not lists positive tests that do not originate in the county.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Jefferson County still leads all counties in reported cases. Here is a county breakdown from ADPH: Baldwin (1), Calhoun (1), Chambers (1), Elmore (5), Lee (10), Jefferson (31), Limestone (1), Madison (1), Montgomery (2), Shelby (8), St. Clair (1), Talladega (1), and Tuscaloosa (4) and Walker (1).
Typically, the ADPH updates its county tracking list around 10 each morning and again around 4 p.m.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Officials are trying to limit the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming the health system.
Also, around Alabama on Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey re-scheduled the primary runoff election to Tuesday, July 14.
Update: Thursday, March 19, 10 a.m.
Alzheimer’s support group canceled
The Alzheimer’s Caregivers’ Support Group meeting on April 6 has been canceled. For more information, please call Kay Jones, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center, at 334-618-7714.
Alabama Power warns of scam
Alabama Power says a scam targeting their customers over the phone is on the increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the company, the scammer claims to be a representative from Alabama Power and requests immediate payment on accounts. In some instances, scammers have altered a customer’s caller ID to falsely read Alabama Power Company.
“The No. 1 tip we tell customers is if anyone calls you directly and claims to be with Alabama Power, hang up and call our Customer Service line at 1-800-245-2244,” said Alisa Summerville, Alabama Power Customer Services Center director. “This small step can save a customer from making a false payment. We are happy to talk the situation through with them, so they are confident in their account status and our process.”
Alabama Power reminds customers the representatives will never come to a home and demand payment or call customers over the phone for bank information or a credit card number.
Any Alabama Power employee who comes to your door for any reason will have company identification that he or she will be able to show you. If you have any questions about whether a person actually works for Alabama Power, call Alabama Power at 1-800-245-2244 and do not let him or her inside your home.
Also, the company warned, scammers sometimes claim they represent a public agency or government office offering grants that can pay your Alabama Power or other utility bill. Never provide anyone making this claim your credit card information, your Alabama Power bill information or account number, or any personal banking information. If someone makes this claim, call Alabama Power or your local police department to report it.
You can reach the Alabama Power Customer Service weekdays from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. at 1-800-245-2244. The automated voice system at 1-800-245-2244 is available to check account balances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This continues to be an ongoing story, so please check back for updates.