By: Martha Roby
As our country moves forward with addressing the challenges associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is incumbent upon my office to provide the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District with the most recent information surrounding COVID-19. Government agencies at the state and federal levels are working hard to ensure Americans are receiving this information. As there are many outlets to turn toward, it can become somewhat overwhelming when determining what advice to take in. As your Representative in the U.S. Congress, I feel it is my responsibility to keep you up-to-date with this ongoing situation. I have compiled below helpful information and resources for anyone with questions or concerns on COVID-19:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has several resources available online relating to the COVID-19 outbreak including how to keep your home and workplace safe and clean, best practices to slow the transmission of germs, signs and symptoms of the virus, what to do if you become sick, frequently asked questions, and many more helpful tools. The CDC is constantly updating nationwide and global statistics on the outbreak including where people have become infected and how many people have tested positive for COVID-19. The CDC also offers information on travel including resources for those who may be traveling on airlines, cruise ships, or returning to the United States from high-risk countries.
The U.S. Department of State recently began advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. The State Department’s website is continuously updating the latest travel advisories, which you can find here. Many families across the Second District are approaching spring break, and some of you may have international vacations planned. You may have decided to cancel these plans after the Administration’s most recent travel advisory suspending travel from certain European countries to the United States. This advisory does not apply to any lawful permanent resident of the U.S. If you do decide to continue with your travel abroad, you can enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is a free service for American citizens to register your international trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
It is also important to pay attention to our state agencies such as the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). COVID-19 testing turnaround time is currently estimated by Alabama healthcare professionals to be between 24 and 72 hours. Alabama Public Health announced they are in the process of setting up 20 laboratory testing sites across the state. ADPH recommends any person who has questions about being tested for COVID-19 to contact their healthcare provider ahead of time so that the provider can take steps to prevent others in the office from being infected. ADPH suggests discussing any health concerns with your primary care provider, as they are knowledgeable on your past medical history and know how to best move forward with treatment. ADPH has set up a toll-free hotline for anyone with questions regarding testing at 1-888-264-2256. Any members of the public or healthcare providers with questions pertaining to COVID-19 can also call 211 or 334-206-5347 during business hours. Providers who have patients with symptoms should call 1-800-338-8374.
As we have learned over the past few weeks, this situation is ever-changing. I will remain committed to making sure my constituents are given the latest news and information on the Coronavirus outbreak. It is crucial to remember the simple steps we can all take to help slow and prevent the spread of germs like washing our hands, refraining from touching our faces, and staying home if we are sick. I am hopeful that community and national leaders along with health professionals across Alabama will continue to stay on top of this situation and implement strategic plans of action in order to provide sufficient testing and care to any persons suffering from possible cases of COVID-19. The President’s declaration of a national emergency Friday afternoon will free up federal funding immediately to support the Coronavirus response. My office will continue to put out information on COVID-19, and please follow my Facebook and Twitter accounts or contact my office to stay knowledgeable on these updates.