Don’t panic.

First, go over your symptoms. Do you:

  • Have a fever?
  • Have a cough — specifically a dry cough?
  • Have shortness of breath?

If so, you might have coronavirus. But should you go get tested? Definitely head to the doctor if:

  • Your symptoms increase in severity
  • You have a compromised immune system or a severe underlying health condition like heart disease or diabetes
  • You’re an older adult

Starting at 8 a.m. March 14, you can call 1-888-264-2256 if you have questions on whether or not you should be tested.

If you decide a doctor’s visit is necessary:

  • Call your healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them you may have the coronavirus so your doctor’s office can take steps to prevent spreading the infection.
  • Wear a facemask to the doctor if you have one at home.
    • Don’t go shopping for a facemask before going to the doctor.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is ensuring doctors can test patients quickly, and there are testing sites being set up around the state.

Testing sites around West Alabama include:

Now that you’ve been tested and diagnosed or are staying home under the assumption you’re infected, what’s next?

  • Stay home, unless you’re traveling to or from the doctor.
  • Stay away from others. That means setting up shop in a separate part of the house if you don’t live alone, and using a separate bathroom if available.
  • If you have one, wear a facemask around other people.
  • Practice good hygiene. That means covering your coughs and sneezes, getting your tissues into a trash can and keeping your hands clean.
  • Don’t share household items like drinking vessels or dishes, and if you can sleep in a separate spot do so.
  • Keep your home clean and disinfected.
  • Monitor your symptoms, and head to the doctor if your symptoms worsen.

If your employer encourages you to work while you’re sick, check your company’s sick leave policies. Many larger, national companies like Walmart and Olive Garden are offering employees sick leave in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Alabama is an at-will employment state, meaning most employees can be fired for not showing up even if they are sick. If you lose your job because you’re under self-quarantine or have coronavirus, file for unemployment and begin searching for a new job. Don’t go out for an interview until your symptoms are gone.

Need financial assistance because you were stuck at home not getting paid or lost your job? There’s help available:

  • Call 211 if you’re a Tuscaloosa County resident. The service can connect you with food and financial services.
  • Tuscaloosa Emergency Services can assist with financial crises. Call 205-391-6647 for an appointment.
Categories: Archives, COVID-19, Local News