The Alabama Department of Public Health has confirmed a second case of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County, one of which has resulted in the closing of a local church to follow cleaning protocols.
One of the confirmed cases is an individual who attended Mass at St. Michael's Catholic Church a week ago, according to a social media post from the parish. The church is in St. Florian, an incorporated town in the county.
According to church's Facebook post: "The church has been locked effective immediately and will not be reopened until CDC appropriate cleaning protocols have been completed. The same is true for the church office."
The parish is following Centers for Disease Control protocols in informing employees and members of the parish, according to the post. Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
According to the church's Facebook post, CDC's risk assessments include:
• Low (assumes no exposures in the high-risk category such as intimate contact like living with them). Being in the same indoor environment (e.g., a classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time but not meeting the definition of close contact.
• No identifiable risk: Interactions with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection that do not meet any of low-risk conditions above, such as walking by the person or being briefly in the same room.
The post also urges people to "Please take a moment to pray for the individual and our parish community."
According to the CDC, symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention, according to the CDC website.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease but the CDC does have recommendations as to how to help protect yourself and prevent its spread, which is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
• Keep 6 feet of distance between you and other people.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
• Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you can't get to soap and water.
• Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover you mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately after.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
• If surfaces are dirty, clean them prior to disinfection. Use detergent or soap, and water to clean.
As of 4 p.m. Saturday, when the state Department of Public Health updated its website information, Alabama's confirmed cases totaled 131. Counties with confirmed cases include:
St. Clair, 1