The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Thursday retracted its report on the first positive test for COVID-19 in Coffee County.
The positive case was a resident of another Alabama county and the earlier report was made erroneously, ADPH said in a statement released late Thursday morning.
No residents of Coffee County have been confirmed as positive for COVID-19.
Coffee County Administrator Rod Morgan said even without a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Coffee County, anyone can see its spread nationally and in pockets of north Alabama.
“We want to do everything we can to avoid the harshest effects of this virus. We won’t hesitate to take actions we need to protect our citizens and our employees,” Morgan said.
Coffee County EMA Director James Brown said the erroneous report from ADPH was simply human error.
“They want to get information out as soon as they know it and that leads to mistakes every once in a while. ADPH has done a tremendous job through all of this. I still trust their information, we just need to verify,” Brown said.
“Before we panic in these situations, everybody should just review what you do. What CDC, what ADPH has told you to do, if you’re doing those things and doing your social distancing already, you should be safe — even if we have a case in Coffee County.
“That’s the message. Don’t panic when you hear there is a case or two or 12. If you’re doing what these folks have told you to do, you’re going to be safe.”
As of Thursday morning, 466 Alabama residents were confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Most patients with COVID-19 infection have mild respiratory illness along with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some have more severe symptoms that require hospitalization. Health officials urge anyone experiencing symptoms to first notify their healthcare provider so that proper precautions can be taken. This will help protect others from exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses.
Social distancing is the most important recommendation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is recommended that any gatherings that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons be postponed or canceled.
As with other respiratory illnesses, it is important that everyone continue to take steps to protect themselves and others by minimizing their risks. This includes practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding close contact with sick persons, staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Persons who are 65 years and older and those with health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and other conditions that can weaken the immune system should limit their interactions with others since they are most at risk.
ADPH is committed to sharing up-to-date information and will maintain patient privacy when announcing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama residents as follows:
• COVID-19 General Information — 800-270-7268
Telephone calls are answered from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, and a language line is available for people who do not speak English.
• The COVID-19 General Information E-mail address — firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, a toll-free phone line provides information about available testing sites and hours of operation statewide at 888-264-2256.
More information is available by clicking “Coronavirus” on the home page of alabamapublichealth.gov/.
Information from ADPH contributed to this report.