March 16, 2020
By Kay Kirkland, City of Enterprise
Alabama now has 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, but thus far, no case has been confirmed in Coffee County or Enterprise.
Mayor William E. Cooper assures residents that he and city officials are continually monitoring the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Alabama Department of Public Health for updates, recommendations and directives. The city is also in close contact with Fort Rucker Commanding General, Maj. Gen. David Francis regarding the COVID-19 situation there. The two leaders have offered mutual aid should the need arise in coming weeks.
“We are asking for calm in the community as we face this crisis,” Cooper said. “We knew that sooner or later, the state would have to deal with COVID-19. We pray the impact will be minimal and that no lives will be lost here, and we continue to pray for all victims across the country.”
In the meantime, Cooper asked that residents and visitors to the community stay informed. Health experts say the risk of getting COVID-19 is still currently low. The CDC reported today that 3,487 people in the United States have tested positive for the virus and 68 people have died.
Cooper said he and city department heads met with regional ADPH officials last Friday to discuss the health crisis. Corey Kirkland, Southeastern District administrator, and Johna Cotton, District Clinical director, said most people who contract the disease will recover, but those with chronic diseases or immune system disorders are more susceptible to the disease.
To reduce the risk to patrons of the Enterprise Senior Citizen Center, the center has been closed until it is deemed safe for large gatherings.
As of Friday, the ADPH recommended that no gatherings of 500 or more be scheduled for the next few weeks in order to try to slow down the spread of the virus. On Monday, however, the ADPH asked people to avoid any gathering of 50 or more. President Donald Trump took the precautions a step further Monday and asked that people not attend gatherings of 10 or more.
Cooper said in keeping with the recommendations, the city sports programs are cancelled through April 4. Easter at the Farmers Market activities have also been cancelled for this year. The special event was scheduled for April 4, but Cooper said the period of social distancing strongly suggested by federal and state health experts extends to about May 15.
For now, City Hall continues to be open.
“As I said, this is a fluid situation and it’s subject to change as the situation develops,” Cooper said. “But we are hopeful that this crisis will pass sooner rather than later.”
The public will be informed of any further changes in city schedules, events or operations.
Below is the latest press release from the Alabama Department of Public Health, which contains information on symptoms and best practices to help avoid the virus. The Mayor asks that everyone be mindful of these recommendations and follow the cleanliness guidelines for your own safety and that of others as well.
From the Alabama Department of Public Health:
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 concerning public gatherings, food establishment and other retail venues, and businesses:
- No mass gatherings of 50 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between participants (with exceptions noted below). 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, train or bus.
- For retail business, including restaurants, limit patronage at any one time to 50% of the normally allowable capacity. Restaurants should maintain a six-foot distance between tables.
- Public buildings should consider whether visitation may be limited. Hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are encouraged to implement visitation policies that protect vulnerable persons.
- 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.
While workplaces should attempt to heed to these recommendations whenever possible, it is understood that exceptions may be needed for essential government functions, municipal and state legislative bodies, and health care facilities including clinics, hospitals and pharmacies. Consider using means for electronic or video meetings in workplaces if possible.
ADPH continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies to provide guidance regarding COVID-19. 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 sanitizers if handwashing is 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 hands.
- Stay home when sick.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
Visit alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html for more COVID-19 information.