EAMC recommends people shelter in place, says businesses should screen employees

Published 6:18 pm Sunday, March 22, 2020

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East Alabama Medical Center is recommending that people shelter in place outside of necessary movement and that businesses should screen their employees prior to allowing them to enter.

The hospital released the new guidelines on Sunday evening in a press release.

EAMC recommends that employers ask every person if they have a cough, if they have difficulty breathing, if they have muscle aches, if they have a fever, and other similar questions to determine if they should be allowed in the office.

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All of the questions include:

  • 1.) Do you have a cough?
  • 2.) Are you having difficulty breathing?
  • 3.) Do you have muscle aches or body aches?
  • 4.) Do you feel like you have a fever?
  • 5.) Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days?
  • 6.) Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days?

7.) Does you feel sick in any way?  If employees answer yes to any of these symptoms, especially numbers 1-4, EAMC recommends businesses should strongly consider sending them back home and telling them to self-quarantine.

“Also, as a reminder, we cannot test every person who has any of these symptoms just to clear them to go back to work,” the press release said. “Collection kits are limited and must be reserved for patients who meet screening criteria for testing. People with symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever can contact their physician or 334-528-SICK for screening.”

EAMC also asked that everyone shelters in place at home. Sheltering in place means staying at home with immediate family members only and not leaving home except for essential activities such as food, medical care or work.

The hospital said more than 500 people have been tested at one of four labs. Initial turnaround time for testing was 2-3 days, but is more like 4-5 days now because of the amount of testing taking place nationwide, according to the press release.

Only about one-third of the tests that EAMC has submitted have been resulted thus far. The HealthPlus drive-through testing site will have one lane open Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but it may be suspended for periods of time due to weather.

Appointments can only be made by calling the 334-528-SICK.

EAMC recommends the following guidelines for anyone who believes they have a symptom or symptoms of COVID-19.

    • People having MILD symptoms should treat COVID-19 in a similar way they would the seasonal flu, except not to use ibuprofen. Speak with a pharmacist about which over-the-counter medicines are best for you.  Also, isolate yourself from family and friends.
    • People who feel they need medical attention should contact their primary care physician or other local provider.
    • If the medical provider determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, they will collect the specimen there and submit to ADPH or to an independent lab. If the physician’s office is out of supplies or do not have the ability to collect, the patient can call 334-528-SICK for evaluation.
    • Calls to 334-528-SICK should be used when exhibiting the COVID-19 symptoms and possible emergent care is needed.
    • Calls to 334-528-SICK does not guarantee a COVID-19 specimen will be collected and submitted for testing.  Instead, patients will be screened on the phone and if the medical provider on the phone determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, directions will be provided on going to EAMC’s drive-through collection center.