Mayor Ron Anders is urging residents to stay home after East Alabama Medical Center CEO Laura Grill informed him that the hospital's beds are beginning to fill.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked everyone to stay in their homes except for essential trips out, which include getting groceries, pharmacy items and health care.
Below are tips gathered from the CDC, EAMC, the Alabama Department of Public Health and other resources about what senior citizens should know during the COVID-19 pandemic. The term "senior citizen" is typically being classified during this pandemic as individuals over 60 years old.
Medicine — Loved ones should check in with seniors regularly and make sure their medication is being taken on time, as well as checking if they need refills. People should also call their health care providers and see if they should stock up on medication.
Health care — Older people who feel symptoms associated with COVID-19, including fever, shortness of breath and a cough, should stay at home and immediately call their doctor, EAMC or the Alabama Department of Public Health to get screened over the phone. People can call EAMC at (334) 528-SICK or the Alabama COVID-19 hotline at +1 (888) 264-2256 for testing sites and hours of operation.
Additional information for seniors can be found through ADPH at (334) 242-5743 or +1 (877) 425-2243.
After calling your doctor, EAMC or ADPH, you will be advised where to go for the test if it is believed you should receive one.
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Isolation — Family and friends should stay connected by phone, email or video with their loved ones to help stave off worry and feelings of loneliness.
Travel — Avoid travel on airplanes, public transit and cruise ships because the chance of getting COVID-19 is greater in these locations.
Scams — Be wary of phone calls and emails that offer cures for the coronavirus. People should only listen to their doctor or the health department.
Long-term care facilities — Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are prohibiting visitations in order to adhere to the CDC's recommendation of social distancing.
Caregivers — People in this line of work should take every precaution they can, such as using gloves, washing hands regularly and cleaning surfaces. Seniors, or their family or friends, should communicate with caregivers about the coronavirus. A backup plan should also be in place in case a caregiver gets sick.
Groceries — If possible, family and friends should go grocery shopping for seniors and leave the items at the door. A two-week supply of food is recommended right now by various health experts.
If a senior must shop themselves, then they can go to Walmart, which is hosting hour-long senior shopping events every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. For the stores in the Auburn-Opelika area, that means from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. The pharmacies and Vision Centers at Walmart will also be open during this time.
Starting March 24, Publix is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for seniors 65 and over. Pharmacies will also open at 7 a.m.
Kroger is reserving its first hour of operation, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., from Mondays through Thursdays for people over 60 and others defined by the CDC as high-risk.
ALDI stores will open at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and its first hour is reserved for senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions.
Walgreens is also starting a new Tuesday weekly senior hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Click here to see The Plainsman's full coverage of COVID-19 in the Auburn-Opelika area.
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