We want to make sure we are able to provide our citizens with the most timely and accurate information possible concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, we want to make clear that at this time there have been NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cherokee County, we are aware that there have been several posts on social media regarding the matter but at this time nothing has been confirmed. If we receive confirmation of a positive case in Cherokee County, proper notifications will be made.
50+ tests have been run since ADPH began testing on March 5. As of today, none have been positive.
We have also had numerous questions regarding where and how individuals can get tested and how long the test takes. The Alabama Department of Public Health says that the average time frame to conduct testing is between 24 to 72 hours based on when the specimens are received.
Some results are available within hours.
Tests are being “batched” which means more than one specimen is tested whenever possible to reserve the limited supplies ADPH has in order to be able to test more people. Depending on when a specimen arrives in the State Lab determines how long it will take to run the tests.
Staff that run these tests in the lab are microbiologists that require special certification and training to perform. ADPH currently has a limited staff that can perform this testing.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is committed to doing their very best for fellow Alabamians, there are staff working 16+ hour days, seven days a week to do this.
For general inquiries, call (334) 206-5347. Note: ADPH is receiving a high number of calls; therefore, you may have to leave a message. Someone will return your call as soon as possible during normal business hours.
Also, several private labs have the ability to test for COVID-19 as well. If your Primary Healthcare Provider feels the need to have a test run, but you do not meet the state criteria, your Primary Healthcare Provider can submit the specimen to one of the private labs to be tested. This would be a discussion between you and your Primary Healthcare Provider.
For detailed information, frequently visit the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov
See below for the press release issued by the ADPH announcing the ability for the State of Alabama to now be able to test.
ADPH state laboratory now tests for novel coronavirus COVID-19
Effective March 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) began conducting SARS-CoV-2 testing. Physicians are asked to refer to the Health Alert Network (HAN) sent out today for specific testing criteria and are required to call ADPH for consultation if the patient meets the criteria based on specific epidemiologic exposures for COVID-19 infection.
In addition to the criteria for testing by BCL provided in the HAN Alert, guidance is also available at the following link: http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infe…/cov-healthcare.html
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “While the risk of this new Coronavirus disease remains low in Alabama, we have been working diligently to prepare for any cases that may occur. We are providing education about our recommendations in coordination with other groups.”
If the patient does not meet the criteria, healthcare providers are encouraged to contact larger commercial laboratories where they normally refer specimens to determine if that laboratory can perform SARS-CoV-2 testing. There are a number of other respiratory viruses causing respiratory illnesses in Alabama including several common types of Coronaviruses, Rhinoviruses, and several types of flu viruses. It is important that testing for these viruses occur. Other testing should be sent to commercial laboratories from the healthcare provider. ADPH continues to work with the CDC and other agencies to provide guidance regarding COVID-19 as more is learned. To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19, the following normal precautions are recommended:
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 for more COVID-19 information. County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.
Visit alabamapublichealth.gov for more COVID-19 information.
County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.