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The original item was published from 3/23/2020 1:06:00 PM to 3/23/2020 1:09:39 PM.

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Posted on: March 18, 2020

[ARCHIVED] City Of Opelika COVID-19 UPDATES - MARCH 23, 2020

COVID19 Spotlight

A Message From Mayor Gary Fuller

Hey Friends - Please follow the rules. We can do better Opelika. Limit gatherings. Shelter in place. No large groups or gatherings. We don’t want to inflict mandatory curfews and closures. It’s up to you how we will proceed. We ask that you not congregate in large groups in parks, on practice fields or around town. Help us flatten the curve.

City of Opelika COVID-19 Press Releases

City Closes Buildings To Public and Offers Businesses Relief 3-20-20

Emergency Ordinance Concerning COVID-19 Approved 3-17-20 (PDF)

COVID-19 City of Opelika Updates 3-17-20 (PDF)

Opelika Municipal Court Outlines Court Procedures - COVID19 (PDF)

Opelika Municipal Court - FULL ORDER (PDF)

COVID-19 City Departments Take Precautionary Measures 3-13-20 (PDF)

COVID-19 Mayor Fuller Statement 3-13-20 (PDF)

Opelika Power Services Billing & Services Inforamtion

OPS will continue to bill on schedule each month and payment is due as normal. If payment is not received by the delinquent date, a late fee will be added; however, OPS will not charge a non-payment fee nor will OPS disconnect power if not paid by the disconnect date. 

We encourage you to pay your bill monthly because waiving disconnection and non-payment fees is only an option until April 14. At this time disconnection of services for non-payment would resume on April 15. We will reevaluate this policy again by April 14 to determine if an additional grace period is needed. If you have questions or concerns, call 334-705-5170-Option 3.

Governor Ivey Issues Statement on Statewide Public Health Order

How You Can Do Your Part To Help Prevent The Spread

  • Do not gather in groups of more than 25 people, preferably 10 people
  • Maintain 6 feet -- social distancing
  • People age 60+ should not gather in groups of more than 10
  • Order takeout or delivery from local restaurants
  • Limit exposure in public buildings
  • Do not travel out-of-state if it’s not essential
  • Wash your hands
  • Do not touch your face
  • Cover a cough or sneeze
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and doors as often as possible
  • Stay home if you are sick; call EAMC hotline at 334-528-SICK if you are exhibiting an symptoms

East Alabama Medical Center Update (March 18 - 5 p.m.)


EAMC has made the difficult decision of announcing a NO VISITORS policy starting tomorrow morning (Thursday, March 19) EXCEPT for Pediatrics and Level 2 Nursery (2 primary caregivers), laboring women (1 primary support person), Emergency Department (1 visitor, ED lobby only) and end-of-life circumstances. However, if the attending physician or nurse manager determines that a support person is needed, the family will be contacted to make such arrangements.  “This temporary change is not a step we wanted to make,” said Laura Grill, President and CEO.  “However, with Lee County now having the second most COVID-19 cases in Alabama, we feel that it is extremely important to use this tactic to help flatten the curve of cases.”

Employers should be screening

Businesses that are still able to be open should be screening their employees prior to allowing them to enter.  While every business may not be able to check the temperature of their employees, they can ask them these key questions: 1.) Do you have a cough?  2.) Are you having difficulty breathing? 3.) Do you have muscle aches or body aches?  4.) Do you feel like you have a fever? 5.) Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days?  6.) Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days?  7.) Does you feel sick in any way?  If they answer yes to any of these symptoms, especially numbers 1-4, you should strongly consider sending them back home and telling them to self-quarantine.    

Also, as a reminder, we cannot test every person who has any of these symptoms just to clear them to go back to work.  Collection kits are limited and must be reserved for patients who meet screening criteria for testing.  People with symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever can contact their physician or 334-528-SICK for screening.    

Community Support

City, county and school officials have been receiving daily updates from EAMC for more than two weeks.  Today, EAMC President and CEO and Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and Auburn Mayor Ron Anders gathered on the phone for dialogue.  Grill opened with an assessment of where EAMC stands at this point and then listened as each mayor talked about steps their cities had taken, including the closure of some services.  When asked by the mayors how they could help the most right now, Grill responded by asking each mayor to stress to their residents the importance of sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.  The mayors pledged to do that and are looking at other ways to offer their support during this pandemic.   


EAMC released a video last night of Dr. Trey Wages providing an update to the community based on his experience this week working with the 334-528-SICK hotline.  Dr. Wages provided many good tips as well as some assurance on how we as a community can help stop the spread of COVID-19.  The video can be found on East Alabama Medical Center’s Facebook page.

Shelter at Home

Health officials are asking that everyone please shelter in place at home. Sheltering in place means you stay at home with immediate family members only and should not leave your home except for essential activities such as food, medical care, or work. You should not host gatherings of people outside of your immediate family. You should also maintain a 6-foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces.

Drive-through Collections Sites

As of Sunday, more than 500 people have provided specimens for testing at one of four labs.  Initial turnaround time for testing was 2-3 days, but is more like 4-5 days now because of the amount of testing taking place nationwide.  Only about 1/3 of the tests that we have submitted have been resulted so far.  The HealthPlus drive-through testing site will have one lane open tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The testing site may be suspended for periods of time due to weather. 


Hours for our 334-528-SICK hotline are 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

  • Specimen collection will continue daily at HealthPlus and at EAMC-Lanier, but is based on available supplies.  Also, appointments can only be made by  through the 334-528-SICK hotline…see information below on how that works. 
  • Regarding screening and collection of samples, here’s what the public needs to know:
    • People having MILD symptoms should treat COVID-19 in a similar way they would the seasonal flu, except not to use ibuprofen.  Speak with a pharmacist about which over-the-counter medicines are best for you.  Also, isolate yourself from family and friends.     
    • People who feel they need medical attention should contact their primary care physician or other local provider. 
    • If the medical provider determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, they will collect the specimen there and submit to ADPH or to an independent lab.  If the physician’s office is out of supplies or do not have the ability to collect, the patient can call 334-528-SICK for evaluation.   
    • Calls to 334-528-SICK should be used when exhibiting the COVID-19 symptoms and possible emergent care is needed.

Calls to 334-528-SICK does not guarantee a COVID-19 specimen will be collected and submitted for testing.  Instead, patients will be screened on the phone and if the medical provider on the phone determines a COVID-19 test is warranted, directions will be provided on going to EAMC’s drive-through collection center.

Blood Donations Must Go On
EAMC receives 100 percent of its blood supply from the LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, with the vast majority coming from the blood center on the main EAMC campus (505 E. Thomason Circle, Opelika). The blood supply in America is facing an unprecedented challenge due to COVID-19. Large numbers of blood drives are being cancelled daily and donors are increasingly practicing social distancing, as they should. Hospitals are likely to see critical shortages of blood products occur in the near term if the trajectory does not change. While shortages are not severe today, a critical blood shortage of all blood types will occur if donations simply stop.
If you are healthy and able, we encourage you to call the local LifeSouth office at 334-705-0884 to schedule an appointment.  LifeSouth is limiting the  number of donors in the center at one time so as to keep donors and staff at appropriate distances.  They are doing the same at their blood drive buses.   Below are LifeSouth’s hours of operation:
Monday and Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.
EAMC Apothecary offering curbside pickup
Beginning Thursday at 8 a.m., EAMC’s Apothecary will be providing curbside pickup of prescriptions outside of The Surgery Center on the back side of the hospital.  A station will be set up there from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.  Payment for prescriptions will be by credit or debit card only; no cash will be accepted. If someone is picking up a prescription outside of these hours, they will need to call 334-528-2293 to arrange pickup.  The Apothecary is EAMC’s retail pharmacy that is open 24/7.

Opelika City School Information

The Opelika City Schools are committed to ensuring that students are fed a nutritious meal when schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Carver Primary School and Opelika High School will be serving lunch meals Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. beginning Monday, March 23. The meals will be provided for free to anyone 18 years old or younger regardless of which school they attend. No paperwork is required. Children must be present in order to receive the meal. Please note that the schools will be set up for pick up service only. No meals will be consumed on site. Directional signs will be posted at Carver Primary and Opelika High School.

The Opelika City Schools will be closed through April 3, 2020. This includes all school related activities. For ongoing information, visit the Opelika City Schools Facebook page and follow local media coverage.


For any questions or guidance regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 please refer to the CDC website (travel warnings) for the most updated information

The Alabama Department of Public Health updates can be found at For COVID-19 testing sites and hours of operation, call the ADPH 24-hour hotline at 1-888-264-2256

For the most recent information from the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, visit

For the most recent information from EAMC, visit

AO Tourism Information on Restaurants and Businesses:

COVID-19-Related Emergency Actions of Alabama State Agencies:

Department of Labor Unemployment Benefits FAQ:

Alabama workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits:

Disaster Loan Assistance (Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters):

Small Business Administration (SBA) Alabama District Office:

CDC – Coronavirus (COVID-19):

CDC – What to do if you are sick:

CDC – How to Protect Yourself:

White House Coronavirus Guidelines for America:

FEMA Rumor Control Website:

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