UPDATE: Officials said in Thursday’s news conference that they are remaining vigilant in preventing the coronavirus from coming to Alabama, but they are prepared for the possibility of an outbreak.
“We as a community will be ready,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
The public can lower the risks of exposure by washing your hands, using proper respiratory etiquette like covering your mouth when you cough and staying home if you feel sick.
“We plan, we train, we exercise, we coordinate,” said the Assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Karen Landers.
Officials said the coronavirus, or COVID 19, is transmitted by respiratory droplets that can only go about six feet. It can range in severity from mild illness to extreme illness.
There are currently no related deaths in the U.S.
Health officials said they remain in regular communication with the CDC.
Madison County leaders will be part of a coronavirus briefing to address public concerns.
City and county leaders will join officials from the State Health Department, Huntsville Hospital and Crestwood Medical Center. They will focus on protocol and procedures to manage potential cases of coronavirus.
The event will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Madison County Health Department.
Right now, there are no reported cases in Alabama, but the entire country is preparing for the virus to spread. Some colleges and universities are pulling students out of their study abroad programs.
WAAY 31 talked with one local university about what they're doing to protect their students in other countries.
A spokesman for the University of Alabama in Huntsville said they only have six students studying abroad right now, and they'll remain abroad for now. Those students are not in high risk areas.
The university is monitoring the outbreak and will bring students back if the virus continues to spread. We talked to one student who spent eight weeks interning in Australia. He said he’s thinking of his fellow students' safety as they’re overseas.
"Hopefully everyone is okay, especially anyone from UAH, being a Charger, I don't want anyone to be hurt," said David Weaver.
The spokesman told us they cancelled a school sponsored trip to China out of caution. Since UAH is a part of the Alabama University System, it's working with the other campuses to determine what to do if the virus continues to spread.