Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey today announced the formation of a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force of cabinet and state agency officials, as well as disease specialists.
The task force, which held its first discussion this morning, was formed “in an abundance of caution,” according to a release from the governor.
“While there are no known cases in Alabama, I have gathered the experts in an effort to be as prepared as possible should the coronavirus affect Alabama,” Ivey said in a statement. “The safety of Alabamians is paramount, and we will do everything we can to limit exposure to this illness. I appreciate the willingness of these individuals, from both the public and private sector, to serve as we do everything we can to mitigate risk for the people of Alabama and to keep the citizens of the state informed of our plans.”
Making up the task force are:
- Scott Harris, state health officer, Alabama Department of Public Health
- Kay Ivey
- Gov. Will Ainsworth
- President Pro Tempore Del Marsh
- Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon
- Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed
- House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter
- Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton
- House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels
- Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, UAB School of Medicine
- John Vande Waa, infectious disease specialist, University of South Alabama College of Medicine
- Don Williamson, president and CEO, Alabama Hospital Association
- Brandon Farmer, president and CEO, Alabama Nursing Home Association
- State Superintendent Eric Mackey, Alabama State Department of Education
- Brian Hastings, director, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
- Hal Taylor, secretary, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
- Greg Canfield, secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce
- Commissioner Nancy Buckner, Alabama Department of Human Resources.
The task force will discuss any developments and precautions on a routine basis and will make recommendations to the governor as necessary. Ivey has designated Harris to serve as chair of the task force and to lead any public announcements and directives.
The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued guidance to hospitals and healthcare centers regarding testing for the virus and encourages Alabamians to take the standard protocol for cold and flu season.
“The risk of coronavirus disease remains low in Alabama, and we have been working diligently to prepare for any cases that may occur,” Harris said. “I am very grateful to Gov. Ivey for convening this distinguished group of state leaders to help guide us in coordinating our efforts to safeguard the health of all Alabamians.”