OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – As The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the coronavirus is likely to trigger a global pandemic, President Trump is requesting Two point Five Billion dollars to prepare.
As News 3’s Elizabeth White found out families in our area are already stocking up for an anticipated widespread outbreak here in the U.S. as she spent Wednesday morning driving around town looking for N95 rated masks being used to fight the spread of the virus globally.
Empty shelves at both Lowes and Home Depot in Opelika indicates east Alabama families are aware of the Coronavirus threat and are stocking up.
“I see people are preparing and I am glad to see them preparing this is a virus we are not used to so we have no vaccine so everybody is susceptible to it,” shared pharmacist June Adams who owns Adams Pharmacy.
We did find masks at Adams Pharmacy and Home Care in Opelika near East Alabama Medical Center, however, the pharmacist says families better stock up soon. 10 masks will cost you around $45.
“The masks are running out quickly, gloves are running out so you don’t want to wait around. I do think we will find more masks in the market place in the next four to six weeks. Right now there is run on masks so don’t hesitate to just buy them. N95 is the best but any mask will help surgical masks, dust mask will help, and when this thing comes around and you have a mask, you will be happy,” shard Adams.
Adams says along with masks and gloves, hand sanitizer and proper hand washing is a must. Limit hugging, handshaking, and personal contact. Stock up on prescription meds and prepare to avoid crowds, and care for a sick loved one.
“You need to think about if your loved one gets the virus, where will you put them where you isolate them from everybody else. Just little things like that” shared Adams.
Adams says this year’s flu is much more deadly than coronavirus – so please don’t panic just prepare. Adams always recommends getting a flu shot and speak with your doctor about a pneumonia vaccine as well.
Meanwhile, The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a release on Wednesday, updating the public on the virus:
ADPH assures the public that as of February 26 there are no known cases of the new coronavirus COVID-19 reported in Alabama. ADPH is a partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners in preparing Alabama communities for the spread of COVID-19.
Interim guidance has been sent to the state’s post-secondary schools, the State Department of Education, independent schools and businesses based on the most recent information. ADPH held a webinar to assist hospitals by providing screening guidance and other precautions for staff and the public.
The ADPH Center for Emergency Preparedness coordinates with multiple agencies and partners related to staff education and readiness. Should patients with COVID-19 disease require treatment, personnel taking care of such patients would be in a hospital or medical settings. Most frontline hospitals are prepared, and staff is trained to do isolation and evaluation of persons with respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Hospitals are required to keep enough personal protective equipment to ensure that there is no transmission of infectious disease within their facilities for up to 72 hours, and hospitals are currently notified in advance that their facility is the hospital of choice for the person being monitored. Processes are in place for the coordination of patient care and transportation.
While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, there are several types of common respiratory viruses circulating including common coronavirus types and influenza. Since current respiratory outbreaks could make it hard to identify an outbreak of this new coronavirus, the public is asked to get flu vaccine if they have not done so.
“The best way to avoid infection is what we already know is effective in reducing the risk of transmission,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre said. “These are the everyday precautions to help stop the spread of germs, such as frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home if you have fever, taking flu antivirals if prescribed, and using appropriate equipment the right way every time.”
“Do 10 – Fight the Flu” describes the top 10 things to do to fight the flu and avoid infection that also apply to COVID-19. Recommendations are as follows:
2. Wash Your Hands
3. Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
4. Stay Home With Fever
5. Stockpile Supplies
6. Clean and Disinfect
7. Know Your Office Emergency Plan
8. Learn Home Care
9. Call Your Doctor If Symptoms Get Worse
10. Stay Informed
ADPH has been receiving names and contact information from CDC of returning travelers from China for the past several weeks. All people being monitored for COVID-19 have been at either moderate or low risk and have practiced voluntary self-isolation. Monitoring has been completed on dozens of individuals with none testing positive.
More information is available by clicking “Coronavirus” on the home page of alabamapublichealth.gov/.