BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE (3/9): UAB Hospital has confirmed with CBS 42 that they are now able to test for COVID-19 if patients think they could have been infected by the virus.
Officials say that the testing falls within the Alabama Department of Public Health’s testing protocol. The test involves collecting samples and giving them to ADPH for further testing.
UAB does say that if you do think you could possibly have contracted the virus to call ahead before coming to the hospital.
ORIGINAL (3/4): The state of Alabama has not any confirmed cases of the coronavirus according to the public health department.
With the threat of the virus nearing Alabama, doctors are adjusting their protocol to protect staff and patients. Patients will now be stopped at the doors before they enter the emergency department and will be asked questions to determine if they are at risk.
“We are now cohorting patients that are presenting with influenza-like illnesses in the waiting room as they’re waiting to be moved to a treatment area,” said Dr. Christopher Greene, a physician with UAB Emergency Medicine. That is not because we have seen any COVID-19 cases, it’s preparation for if there was an outbreak in Alabama.”
UAB Hospital is also awaiting clearance to begin their own testing of the Coronavirus. Up until recently, all testing has been handled by the CDC, making it difficult to get approved for testing. The hospital could receive clearance in the next week.
“So as you can imagine, there are a lot of people that we would like to test, that we haven’t been able to test, said Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo; UAB Infectious Diseases. “And when we start to do that, we are almost certainly going to find some cases.”
UAB health experts say, globally there are over 90,000 people infected and 3,000 deaths.
According to Washington state, there are now 10 deaths reported and 1 reported in California, bringing the death toll in the U.S. to 11.
UAB Medicine held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest efforts in preparation for the coronavirus outbreak in the state of Alabama.
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