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STAY AT HOME: State tightens quarantine requirements, FC starts testing

In Franklin County, 107 coronavirus tests have been administered. Seven cases have been confirmed. That’s compared to 14,765 tests statewide with 2,054 confirmed cases – and 39 confirmed died from the illness.

That’s as of Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., and those numbers are climbing every few hours.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the state has issued stricter orders regarding quarantining and social distancing.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has issued a health order, which went into effect Saturday at 5 p.m., and remains effective until April 30, that requires every person in Alabama to stay at his or her place of residence except as necessary to perform essential activities.

Essential activities are defined in the health order:

·        To obtain necessary supplies

·        To obtain or provide necessary services

·        To attend religious services

·        To take care of others

·        To work at essential businesses and operations

·        To engage in outdoor activity

·        To seek shelter

·        To travel as required by law

·        To see family members

Essential businesses and operations – like caregivers, necessary infrastructure, media operations, financial services and military or defense operations, among a long list – must take all reasonable steps to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more and maintain a consistent 6-foot distance between people.

Also outlined in the most recent order, any person who has tested positive for COVID-19 shall be quarantined to his or her place of residence for a period of 14 days after receiving positive test results. Quarantined persons may not leave their place of residence for any reason other than to seek necessary medical treatment.

The statewide order also requires quarantined persons to take precautions as directed by their healthcare provider or the Alabama Department of Public Health to prevent the spread of the disease to others.

In regards to religious and other services, the order explains that “a person may leave his or her place of residence to attend an event that is a religious worship service, wedding or funeral … if the event involves fewer than 10 people and the people maintain a consistent 6-foot distance from one another or the event is a “drive-in” worship service.”

For drive-in services, all participants must remain in their vehicles for the entirety of the services, and the participants in each vehicle must share the same place of residence.

The latest health order also outside the following guidelines for groceries, pharmacies and other stores:

MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY RATE

A retail store shall allow no more than 50 percent of its normal occupancy load inside the store at any one time. The store must station enough staff at the store entrances and exits to enforce this requirement.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

An employee of a retail store may not knowingly allow customers or patrons to congregate within six feet of one another.

SANITATION

A retail store shall take reasonable steps to comply with guidelines on sanitation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ADPH.

TESTING AVAILABLE IN COUNTY

As of April 7, free COVID-19 testing is now available in Franklin County, at the Franklin County Health Department. To be tested, a person must be 19 or older and must be symptomatic – with fever, cough or shortness of breath – and meet one of these conditions:

  • Be 65 or older
  • Be a healthcare worker
  • Have a condition that places the patient at higher risk, like chronic lung disease, diabetes, immunocompromised or currently pregnant, among others.

Testing will be offered at the health department every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11:30 a.m. A physician referral is recommended. For an appointment call 256-332-2700. Those arriving for testing should remain in their cars.

Anyone leaving home must maintain 6 feet of separation from other people.

For the full text of the governor’s stay-at-home order – which includes more extensive detail about what constitutes “essential” supplies and services – visit governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/category/press-releases.

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