The Alabama Department of Public Health officially confirmed the first coronavirus-related death in the state is a woman from Jackson County.
The Jackson County Commission announced the terrible news earlier in the day, but it wasn't until Wednesday night where state officials released the information.
Tim Guffey, Chairman of the Jackson County Commission tells WAAY31 the victim was a woman who worked part-time inside the Jackson County Courthouse. He says she died from the coronavirus in a Chattanooga hospital. Alabama Department of Public Health officials said the woman had underlying health issues.
Guffey says the state department of public health told them a person died of coronavirus, but after confirming the information, Guffey says state officials backtracked and said the investigation actually was not completed.
Now, the focus is on the victim and those who near her. Guffey says she worked in a department at the courthouse that didn't make regular contact with the public. All employees in that department have been notified but the incubation period from when the employee last worked has passed.
One Scottsboro man says this should make everyone understand how serious this virus is.
"It's very unfortunate, of course, we don't know who the person was but prayers and blessings go out to the families," Garry Morgan, said. "It should be an eye-opener for public officials all across the state and the United States."
As of now, there have been two reported cases of coronavirus in Jackson County.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports the death of a patient who previously tested positive for coronavirus. This event marks the first death in an Alabama resident with a positive test. The patient had underlying health problems and passed away in a facility outside the state of Alabama. The patient was a resident of Jackson County.
“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as to the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “The health of our residents and the community is our greatest priority, and we will continue working together to care for the patients, protect the safety of health care workers, and protect the people in our state.”
ADPH encourages the general public to follow the orders of the State Health Officer including limiting gatherings of 25 or more persons and maintaining social distancing of six feet or more among other recommendations. In addition, ADPH encourages everyone to take precautions including the following behaviors:
Stay home when you are sick.
Avoid contact with sick people.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
We encourage the public to keep informed by visiting alabamapublichealth.gov. An ADPH toll-free hotline and e-mail address are 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 Email address - email@example.com
In addition, a toll-free phone line provides information about available testing sites and hours of operation statewide at 888-264-2256.