Ivey’s emergency declaration includes a directive to the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to seek federal assistance as needed. It also allows health care facilities that have invoked their emergency operation plans to implement their “alternative standard of care” plans to combat the outbreak.
A copy of her full proclamation is included below.
On Thursday afternoon, Cherokee County Health and Rehab Center issued a statement stating that there are confirmed flu cases among the staff and residents. The facility is currently following the Centers for Disease Control recommended protocols.
Cherokee Health and Rehab is asking that family members and the community limit visitation to the facility at this time. This is for the community and the residents protection.
According to a post on their social media page, Floyd Medical Center, Polk Medical Center and Redmond Medical Center are also restricting visitors due to rising flu cases and says that they remain committed to protecting their patients, the public and staff.
WHEREAS the State Health Officer has reported that an outbreak of the influenza virus has occurred in the State of Alabama; and
WHEREAS this outbreak poses a high probability of widespread exposure to an infectious agent that poses significant risk of substantial harm to a large number of people in the affected population; and
WHEREAS the health care facilities and personnel of the State are overwhelmed by the number of ill patients and taxed to such an extent that care of patients may now no longer be provided in the traditional, normal, and customary manner nor is the utilization of traditional, normal, and customary standards of care possible.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kay Ivey, Governor of the State of Alabama, pursuant to relevant provisions of the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955, section 31-9-1 et seq., Code of Alabama (1975), on the recommendation of the State Health Officer, do hereby declare that a State Public Health Emergency exists in the State of Alabama. I direct the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory and regulatory authority to assist the communities and entities affected. I also direct the Alabama Department of Public Health and Alabama Emergency Management Agency to seek federal assistance as may be available.
FURTHER, I direct the following:
- Health care facilities that have invoked their emergency operation plans in response to this public health emergency may implement the “alternative standards of care” plans provided therein, and such are declared to be the state approved standard of care in health care facilities to be executed by health care professionals and allied professions and occupations providing services in response to this outbreak.
- These “alternative standards of care” shall serve as the “standard of care” as defined in section 6-5-542(2), Code of Alabama for the purposes of section 6-5-540 et seq. The “degree of care” owed to patients by licensed, registered or certified health care professionals for the purposes of section 6-5-484 shall be the same degree of care set forth in the “alternative standards of care.” To the extent that the provisions of section 6-5-540 et seq. are inconsistent with this order, the said provisions are hereby suspended.
- All health care professionals and assisting personnel executing in good faith under the “alternative standards of care” are hereby declared to be “Emergency Management Workers” of the State of Alabama for the purposes of title 31 of the Code of Alabama.
- The State Health Officer shall inform members of the public on how to protect themselves and actions being taken in response to this public health emergency.
FURTHER, I declare that this Proclamation and all subsequent orders, laws, rules or regulations issued pursuant hereto shall remain in full force and effect for the duration of the State Public Health Emergency unless rescinded or extended by Proclamation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal to be affixed by the Secretary of State at the State Capitol in the City of Montgomery on this 11th day of January, 2018.
Tips from the Center for Disease Control for Fighting the Flu
Take time to get a flu vaccine.
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.
- CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines) during 2016-2017. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.
- Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high-risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
- Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
- Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.