The Alabama Department of Public Health has introduced a new tool that allows policy makers and others viewing it to recognize the COVID-19 risk status in each county and to guide health behavior.
The guide system consists of four color codes indicating COVID-19 risk factors: Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green. Red indicates the highest risk and green indicates the lowest risk.
Calculation for each county’s risk of COVID-19 spread in the community is based on the increasing or decreasing trend in the number of new cases each day, according to ADPH officials.
The number of new cases each day is determined with a rolling 3-day average to account for fluctuations in reporting.
The main indicator for decreasing risk of COVID-19 spread in the community is the number of days the county has experienced a downward trend of new cases.
Officials stress that when a county is shown in green, it does not mean the public should resume their pre-pandemic activities; the green color just indicates a lower comparative risk in this ongoing process.
“We are committed to protecting the health and safety of Alabamians by giving guidance based on the best science and public health practices available,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “We will continue to maintain and update the statewide data and metrics and provide consistent localized data for use in local decision-making for reopening plans.”
These are the recommendations for Alabama residents based on the four identified phases:
Red – Very High Risk
· Wear face coverings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
· Even when visiting family or friends, wear face coverings when within 6 feet of people outside your household.
· Avoid all unnecessary travel. If you must travel, avoid crowded areas if possible.
· Telework if possible. If not, maintain a 6-foot distance from others and wear face coverings at work.
· Takeout, pickup or delivery from restaurants is strongly encouraged rather than dining in.
· Avoid groups of more than 20 people.
· Avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals, nursing homes or other residential care facilities.
· Worship online or keep 6-foot distances between people of different households.
· Children with COVID-19 should stay home or be sent home for school or child care if showing symptoms. Limit public interaction between children and do not allow children on public playgrounds.
Orange– High Risk
· Continue social distancing at work, work from home when possible, and wear face coverings at work when social distancing is impossible.
· Limit out-of-state travel.
· Takeout, pickup or delivery from restaurants is encouraged rather than dining in.
· Maintain social distancing during outdoor recreation.
· Hold online workshop services if possible. When meeting in person, keep 6-foot distances between people of different households, consider holding more services for lower attendance, and more spacing between people at each service.
· Keep children away from in-person playdates or similar activities outside of the school setting if avoidable and do not allow children on public playgrounds.
Yellow – Moderate Risk
· Avoid groups of more than 50 people.
· Keep 6-foot distances from people outside your household in theaters and other entertainment venues.
· Check for fever, coughing or other symptoms of COVID-19 before team games or practices.
· Hold online worship services if possible. When meeting in person, keep 6-foot distances between people of different households; consider holding more services for lower attendance, and more spacing between people.
· Children should keep a 6-foot distance from others outside their household, those with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school or child care, limit interaction between children at playgrounds and other public places.
Green – Low Risk
· Continue social distancing at work and wear face coverings at work when social distancing is impossible.
· Large gatherings and venues are allowed with increased hygiene measures, physical distancing, face coverings and symptom monitoring.
· Check for fever, coughing or other symptoms of COVID-19 before team sports or practices.
· Stay home if sick.
· Places of worship are encouraged to consider social distancing, hygiene measures and face coverings.
· Children should follow hygiene measures, physical distancing, wear face coverings and monitoring for symptoms are encouraged for all group gatherings.