Special to the Opelika Observer

On Thursday, the Alabama Senate approved a $5 million supplemental appropriation to the budget to combat the spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as “Coronavirus,” in Alabama. 

These funds will help supplement the Federal funding which totals $8.1 million to this date. The money is for healthcare professionals to use as they see fit to stop the spread of the disease in Alabama including helping set up local centers for testing, covering expenses related to telehealth and covering the costs for the uninsured for testing and treatment. 

Currently there have been no positive tests for Coronavirus in Alabama, however after meeting with professionals in the healthcare industry and public health officials, legislative leadership determined it was important to be proactive and work to get the situation under control should any tests in Alabama come back positive for the disease. 

Both Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) emphasized that if someone is not feeling well, they should contact their physician to administer next steps and determine if further testing is necessary. 

“I want to thank Governor Ivey and her team for taking this issue head on. One of the biggest problems we have seen from this disease is simply a lack of preparation,” Marsh said. “It is important for everybody to know that Alabama has a solid plan to combat Coronavirus. I cannot stress enough that if someone feels as though they need to be tested for Coronavirus they should contact their doctor to work through the next steps.” 

“Over the past several days, legislative leadership has held a series of meetings with the governor and her Coronavirus Task Force, as well as with health care professionals who are on the front lines of combating this pandemic,” Reed said. “It is important to know that we have test kits and tests are being administered and we have excellent health care professionals who are prepared to act. One important thing to note is that we are setting up the ability to contact doctors with telehealth so that next steps can be decided over the phone or video chat to limit the potential of exposure to this illness.”

“In response to the pandemic that has been going around the nation and the world, this supplementary spending bill is a way for the State of Alabama to be proactive and show our citizens that we are serious about fighting the spread of the coronavirus,” said Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro). “Although we have not had a positive test in the state, we understand that this highly contagious virus could be potentially deadly for those with compromised immune systems. Therefore, we are moving forward in setting up crisis centers to protect our citizens.”