From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — The Jefferson County Health Department has announced that gatherings of 25 people or more will be prohibited in Jefferson County until further notice as the number of those testing positive for the coronavirus continues to rise.
In a press conference on Monday, March 16, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson stated that gatherings of 25 or more people will now be prohibited. In addition, nursing homes will now ban visitors, restaurants, bars and brewers will be pickup or delivery only for one week. Starting Thursday, all private schools will be closed until April 6.
Wilson added that the one-week ban on restaurant dining is fluid and could extend past the original deadline.
“We do believe that we now have community spread within Jefferson County,” Wilson said. “We do believe there are many, many more cases we have not detected.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to make sure that these new guidelines are enforced.
Jefferson County health officials to discuss the growing number of coronavirus cases and response efforts bit.ly/covidAL
Posted by WVTM 13 on Monday, March 16, 2020
As of Monday, there are now 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Alabama. Seventeen of those confirmed cases are in Jefferson County. There are still no deaths associated with the outbreak in the state.
Earlier in the day, the Alabama Department of Public Health urged people to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people, unless they can maintain a 6-foot distance between others, to limit spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
The advice follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State Health Officer Scott Harris said.
Harris said restaurants are urged to keep a 6-foot (2-meter) distance between tables and limit admittance to 50% of capacity. Harris said people attending weddings and funerals should also try to maintain 6-foot (2-meter) distance. He said workplaces may not be able to maintain the distances but should try whenever possible.
Senior citizens, and those with health problems, should be more careful, Harris said. Senior adults or those with chronic health problems should avoid gatherings, outside of close family, of 10 or more people, and should avoid travel by air, train or bus, the state health department said.
“I think if we all cooperate, if we all manage to do this then we will have a little bit of time where we are inconvenienced and uncomfortable but I know we will come out OK on the other side,” Harris said.
For most people, coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover, according to the World Health Organization.