COVID-19 News/Information

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UPDATE October 22, 2021
COVID-19 booster shot eligibility expands to additional individuals and vaccines. Read the full news release at: Booster Info
UPDATE August 23, 2021
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 through 15 years of age. Read the full news release at: FDA APPROVES PFIZER
UPDATE August 17, 2021
ADPH recommends additional COVID-19 vaccine doses for certain people with weakened immune systems. Read the full news release at go.usa.gov/xFwt5
UPDATE August 2, 2021
In honor of August being National Immunization Awareness Month, Gov. Kay Ivey recently hosted State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris at the capitol for a one-on-one discussion regarding COVID-19. See video at: Gov. Ivey Interviews Dr. Scott Harris on COVID-19
UPDATE July 27, 2021
The Delta variant is more than two times as transmissible as the original strains circulating at the start of the pandemic and is causing large, rapid increases in infections as vaccinations decline.

Level of SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission:

  • Individual risk is directly related to the level of the virus circulating in the community.
  • Transmission risk will be reassessed weekly.
  • Geographic unit of analysis should be the county level.
  • In areas of substantial or high transmission, CDC recommends community leaders encourage vaccination and universal masking in indoor public spaces in addition to other layered prevention strategies to prevent further spread.
Read our full news release from the CDC at:   https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/pdfs/mm7030e2-H.pdf
UPDATE July 6, 2021
Termination of State of Emergency: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read the full news release at: https://bit.ly/3l5ofht
UPDATE April 2, 2021:

Governor Kay Ivey during a visit to the Alabama National Guard mobile vaccination clinic in Wilcox County Friday announced that, beginning April 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include individuals age 16 and older. Thanks to Governor Ivey’s announcement, all Alabamians that the vaccine brands are available to can now receive the shot.

“I have committed to the people of Alabama that we are on a path forward, and while there is more work to be done, I remain hopeful and optimistic in where we are going. Recent findings from the CDC show preliminary data suggesting that vaccinated individuals do not appear to be spreading the virus, so that is hopeful, underscores the effectiveness of the vaccine and is yet another reason to get the shot,” Governor Ivey said. “Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us.”

The Pfizer vaccine is available to individuals age 16 and up, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both available to individuals 18 years of age and older.

With this expansion, there will be close to 4 million eligible individuals in the state of Alabama. Currently, the state receives approximately 115,000 first doses each week.

"In the initial phases of our vaccine allocation plan, we have given just over 1.7 million shots. These shots have gone to more than 1.1 million Alabamians most at risk of illness and death due to COVID-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “As progress has been made, equitable vaccine distribution has been and remains a driving force in immunizing state residents. The increased supply of safe and effective vaccines means all adults who wish to be vaccinated are now eligible to receive the protection vaccines offer."

As of April 1, 1,724,463 doses have been administered.

UPDATE February 5, 2021:
As part of a statewide effort to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama, mass vaccination clinics will be held in each of the state’s public health districts February 8-12. There is no cost to receive a vaccine, but everyone vaccinated must be in an eligible group, wear a mask and bring valid identification. Read the full news release at https://bit.ly/3rzv7DF
Tuscaloosa County EMA is partnering with the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, City of Northport, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International and Alabama Fire College are partnering together to assist DCH with logistical support for the mass vaccination clinic. To read our press release on this effort, click here
UPDATE January 29, 2021:
Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Friday starting February 8, ADPH will extend eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to include people 65 or older, and additional groups of frontline workers. Read our full news release at go.usa.gov/xAMkZ.
UPDATE January 28, 2021:
United Kingdom COVID-19 variant identified in Alabama residents. A new and more highly transmissible COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, has been identified in three Alabama residents. Read our full news release at go.usa.gov/xA68C
UPDATE January 21, 2021: 
Governor Kay Ivey has extended the current safer at home and mask order through March 5, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. To see the entire order visit: https://bit.ly/3ixAY9e
UPDATE January 11, 2021: 

Per 1/11/21 ADPH Press Release: COVID-19 vaccine remains limited, continued patience is urged as demand is great. Found at: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/news/2021/01/11.html

UPDATE January 8, 2021: 

Per 1/8/21 ADPH Press Release: COVID-19 vaccination appointments available for Alabamians 75 years and older, first responders (including law enforcement and firefighters) statewide effective January 18, as healthcare workers and others continue to be vaccinated. Found at: go.usa.gov/xAnkJ

To schedule an appointment for the free COVID-19 vaccination at a county health department, individuals may call the ADPH toll-free phone number at 1-855-566-5333. Telephone calls are answered from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. seven days a week. Vaccination locations can be viewed at this link, https://go.usa.gov/xARKp and additional specific information, such as what to bring and what to wear, will be provided when appointments are made.

UPDATE December 23, 2020: 
This holiday season consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of #COVID19 and the #flu to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe. Learn more at http://go.usa.gov/xw3eT.
UPDATE December 17, 2020: 

The first person in Tuscaloosa County received the Covid-19 vaccine today. It was part of Phase 1 where our Medical professionals, First Responders, and long term care facilities get vaccinated. We would encourage you to start now, researching the vaccines and if it is the right choice for you and your family.

UPDATE December 14, 2020: 

ADPH has revised the Alabama Quarantine & Isolation Timeframes for the public. While a 14 day quarantine is still encouraged, if possible, in Alabama quarantine can end after Day 10 for some people without testing and if no symptoms have occurred.
For healthcare personnel, the guidance has not changed. See that guidance here: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/.../cov-timeframes...

UPDATE December 9, 2020: 

Governor Kay Ivey has extended the current safer at home and mask order for another 6 weeks through January 22, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. To see the entire order visit: https://governor.alabama.gov/.../governor-ivey-extends.../

UPDATE November 25, 2020: 

Thanksgiving holiday! EMA and Tuscaloosa County LEPC wants you to have a safe Thanksgiving holiday! 

The CDC has put out guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving. You can check them out here: https://www.cdc.gov/.../daily.../holidays/thanksgiving.html

UPDATE November 5, 2020: 

Governor Ivey extended the current Safer at Home Order until December 11, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. This includes the current mask order for the state. To see the entire order and what has been AMENDED, visit: https://governor.alabama.gov/.../governor-ivey-issues.../

UPDATE September 30, 2020: 

Governor Ivey extended the current Safer at Home order through November 8. All current restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, will remain in effect through 5 PM on that date unless circumstances present the need to change or extend the order. See full order here: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/09/Safer-at-Home-Order-Final-9.29.2020.pdf 

UPDATE August 28, 2020:

Governor Ivey extended the current Safer at Home order through October 2nd. All current restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate, will remain in effect through 5 PM on that date unless circumstances present the need to change or extend the order. See full order here: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/08/Safer-at-Home-Order-Final-8.27.20.pdf 

UPDATE August 24, 2020: 

Tuscaloosa County is now offering drive-thru flu testing to the public at Tuscaloosa Fire Training and Logistics Center located at 3311 Kauloosa Avenue, Tuscaloosa, 35401. The testing site will be open Monday - Saturday 9 AM-5 PM beginning today through September 4, or while supplies last. 

Testing is offered for free to any citizen, and citizens do not have to have symptoms to test. Citizens must register prior to getting a test, and are encouraged to do so before arriving at the testing site. Pre-register here: https://www.doineedacovid19test.com. 

Additionally, City of Tuscaloosa released a new executive order closing ABC lounge alcohol licensees (bars and other entertainment venues) for on-premises consumption for two weeks. All other ABC alcohol licensees (restaurants) shall suspend walk up bar service and only allow alcohol sales to seated customers. These restrictions shall remain in effect until 6 AM on September 8, 2020. 

More information on both the testing and the executive order can be found at www.tuscaloosa.com/covid19.

UPDATE July 29, 2020:

The statewide Safer-At-Home Order has been amended. New changes - 

Each employee, and each student in second grade or above, shall, to the greatest extent possible, wear a mask or other facial covering that covers their nose and mouth when in regular interaction within six feet of a person from another household.

The statewide mask requirement that went into effect on July 16 remains in effect. Facial coverings are required for each person that is within six feet of another person from a different household in any public space, including transportation, with some exceptions (mentioned below). 

This order is in effect through 5 PM on August 31, 2020 unless circumstances present the need to change or extend this order. To see the full order: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/07/2020-07-29-15th-Supplemental-SOE-COVID-19.pdf

UPDATE July 15, 2020: 

The statewide Safer at Home Order has been amended. New changes - 

Effective July 16, 2020 at 5 PM - facial coverings are required for each person that is within six feet of another person from a different household in any of the following places: an indoor space open to the general public, a vehicle operated be a transportation service, or an outdoor public space where ten or more people are gathered. 

Exceptions include the following: any person 6 years of age or younger; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a facial cover; any person consuming food or drink or seated at a restaurant to eat or drink; any person obtaining a service a service (medical or dental procedures) that requires removal of masks; any person required to remove a facial cover to confirm identity in security or screening; people engaged in active exercise in a gym subject to 6 foot rule; persons engaging in athletic events in compliance with the Safer at Home Order; any person swimming in a pool, lake, or other water attraction; when needed for essential effective communication or broadcasts subject to the 6 foot rule; and any first responder or employee where job safety prevents wearing a facial covering. 

Masks can be factory made, homemade, or improvised with household items such as bandanas, scarves, or t-shirts. Failure to comply could lead to a fine or jail time. 

Additionally, the Safer at Home Update states that all employers shall take reasonable steps, where practicable as work duties permit, to protect employees by encouraging the use of facial coverings, maintaining six feet of space between employees, regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces, encouraging handwashing, preventing sick employees from coming into contact with others, facilitating remote working arrangements, and minimizing employee travel. 

Businesses and offices should also strive to protect customers and guests by encouraging the use of facial coverings, maintaining six feet of space between persons, and regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces. 

Currently, this order is in effect through 5 PM on July 31, 2020 unless circumstances present the need to change or extend this order. To see the full order: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/07/2020-07-15-14th-Supplemental-SOE-COVID-19.pdf 

UPDATE July 1, 2020: 

The statewide Safer at Home Order has been extended through July 31, 2020. New changes - 

Effective July 3 - hospitals and nursing homes/long term care facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living) shall limit visitors except in the case of certain compassionate care situations (maternity, end-of-life, or caregiver situations). 

This order is in effect through 5 PM on July 31, 2020 unless circumstances present the need to change or extend this order. To see the full order: https://alabamapublichealth.gov/legal/assets/order-adph-cov-gatherings-063020.pdf

Additionally, last night the City of Tuscaloosa voted to mandate wearing facial coverings or masks in public within the city limits of the City of Tuscaloosa. This mandate will go into effect on Monday, July 6, 2020. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health has developed a color-coded health guidance system to help guide health behaviors for individuals and businesses. Categories are: Very High (red), High (orange), Moderate (yellow), and Low (green). These categories indicate the risk of spread in that county. Calculations for each county's risk is based on the number of new cases each day, calculated with a rolling 3-day average to account for fluctuations in reporting. To find out what color Tuscaloosa County is, visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b585b67ef4074bb2b4443975bf14f77d 

UPDATE May 21, 2020:

New changes to the Safer at Home Order - 

Effective 5 PM May 22 - entertainment venues, including bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing centers, tourist attractions, race tracks, playgrounds, etc., are allowed to open with an occupancy of 50% capacity. Athletic activities may resume in practicing, conditioning, drills, and similar activities subject to social distancing and mask wearing. 

Effective 5 PM May 23 - child care facilities or day care facilities, day and overnight youth camps may resume activities subject to social distancing. 

Effective June 1 - all schools, public and private, may continue subject to social distancing and masking.

This Safter at Home Order is in effect through 5 PM on July 3, 2020 or until circumstances present the need to amend the order. See the full order here: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/05/Safer-at-Home-Order-FINAL-5.21.2020.pdf

UPDATE May 11, 2020:

New changes in the Safer at Home Order begin today! What's changed?
Close-contact service providers (such as barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons, spas, body art facilities, tattoo services, and massage therapy services) are allowed to open as long as they follow social distancing, masking, and hand-washing rules.
Athletic facilities (such as fitness centers, commercial gyms, spas, yoga facilities, spin facilities) are allowed to open at 50% capacity as long as they follow social distancing rules and don't allow sports or activities that place people closer than 6 feet or use shared equipment.
Restaurants, bars, breweries, or similar establishments may offer on-premises consumption of food and drink as long as party size is no more than 8 people per party and occupied tables are at least 6 feet apart. There will be no self-service by guests at drink stations, buffets, or salad bars. Such establishments are strongly encouraged to continue to offer and push online ordering and curb-side pickup of food.
This order is in effect through May 22 or until circumstances present the need to amend the order. See the full order here: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/05/Safer-at-Home-Order-FINAL-5.8.2020.pdf

UPDATE April 28, 2020: 

The current "Stay at Home" order expires on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 5 PM. At that time, Alabama will move to a "Safer at Home" order that is in effect until May 15, 2020.

What's the difference?

With the updated "Safer at Home" order, individuals are still encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and follow good hygiene practices, but are not mandated to do so. Lower-risk businesses may open up, subject to sanitation and social-distancing guidelines, and ALL retail stores may open up, subject to a 50% occupancy rate. Alabama beaches will reopen, with no gatherings of more than 10 people allowed and people must maintain separation of 6 feet.

What stays the same: non-work gatherings are still limited to fewer than 10 people, maintaining a 6 foot distance. Senior citizen centers have suspended programming and schools and educational facilities are still closed to in-person education. Entertainment venues (theaters, night clubs, bowling alleys, etc.), athletic facilities and gyms, and close-contact services (barber shops, salons, tattoo services) are still closed. Restaurants remain take-out, curbside, or delivery only.

See the entire order: https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/04/Safer-At-Home-Order-Signed-4.28.20.pdf

UPDATE: The Alabama State Health Officer has issued updated restrictions for the State of Alabama effective March 28, 2020 at 5 PM. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and all non-essential businesses, venues, and activities shall be closed the public. 

UPDATE: The City of Tuscaloosa has enacted a 24-hour curfew for citizens within the City limits. This order will go into effect on Sunday, March 29 at 10 PM and continue for one week. This will be evaluated weekly. This Executive Order does not apply to the City of Northport or Tuscaloosa County. 

UPDATE: Tuscaloosa citizens can text the keyword COVIDTUSC to 888-777 to receive updates from government officials regarding the COVID-19 virus in Tuscaloosa County. 

 

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant an emergency declaration for all states, tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia. The same day, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a State of Emergency for Alabama to strengthen Alabama's efforts and plans already in place to deal with COVID-19. This helps alleviate health care facilities and providers, schools, and citizens. 

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The COVID-19 virus is a new one that has not spread through the public before. Coronavirus is most commonly spread from infected persons though droplets in the air (by coughing and sneezing), close personal contact (within six feet or shaking hands), and touching a surface or object with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. 

Individuals who are older or have a chronic health condition such as respiratory issues, heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, may be at a higher risk for getting infected by COVID-19. These individuals should take extra precautions to avoid infection. 

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19, the public is urged to continue practicing social distancing and other precautionary measures, including:

  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if handwashing if not possible
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed
  • Stay home when sick
  • Stay aware from people who are sick

The symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you are sick and you think you may have been infected with coronavirus, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the disease from spreading to other people in your home and community. First, stay home except to get medical care. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. Avoid public areas and public transportation if you must leave your home. Call ahead before visiting your doctor. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately wash your hands after. Avoid sharing personal household items and clean "high-touch" surfaces every day.

In response to the increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is making the following recommendations for public gatherings:

  • No mass gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between participants. This may include festivals, parades, assemblies, or sporting events. 
  • Senior adults or those with chronic health problems should avoid gatherings (outside of close family) of 10 or more persons, and should avoid travel by air, bus, or train.
  • All persons should consider whether out-of-state travel plans may be delayed or cancelled. 
  • Participants in religious services or events, weddings, funerals, and family events should exercise prudence and maintain consistent six-foot distance between participants if possible. 

To keep up to date on specific updates, closures, and other information related to COVID-19, check out the links included below.