MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama currently has six confirmed cases of patients with coronavirus.
Friday night, the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website listed six cases from Elmore, Jefferson, Limestone, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa counties, plus one from out of state.
There are 28 total unique patients tested, and 74 people approved for testing.
The Alabama Department of Health confirmed the first patient at a Friday morning news conference.
That patient is a civilian employee who works at Maxwell Air Force Base. In a news release, the base said this person had returned home from traveling to Illinois and reported not feeling well upon return.
Off-base medical agencies are monitoring and treating the individual.
“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 upmost 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 second confirmed patient was announced at another news conference at 5 p.m. The patient is described as a man from Jefferson County.
Three more potential cases were mentioned by a state health department spokesman at the 5 p.m. news conference. The location of those patients was not announced, but the cases were added to the health department’s website.
Additionally, Governor Kay Ivey announced a state of emergency for the state of Alabama. K-12 schools will be closed after the school day on Wednesday, March 18. Schools will remain closed through April 3.
Schools will not be required to make up missed days due to the declared state of emergency.
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," said Ivey.
“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," said Ivey.
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.”
WAFF will have updates on the state’s response and the impact of the virus on the Tennessee Valley online and on-air.