A Message from Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences

May 11, 2020

As local and state restrictions ease throughout Alabama and stores, restaurants, gyms and salons begin to re-open, it is important that we don’t get complacent about COVID-19. We are still in uncharted territory. Science and history tells us that there is more to come.

The nation’s top health experts have said it is important to continue practicing social distancing, wear masks out in public and engage in frequent hand washing. In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations that people who make necessary trips out of their homes wear a non-medical cloth mask to reduce asymptomatic spread of the virus.

These actions have proven effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, which (as of late last week) has infected more than 9,100 people in Alabama, 1.3 million in the U.S. and claimed the lives of 374 people in Alabama and more than 76,000 nationwide.

But numbers are still rising.

Health experts have said the challenge now is for the public not to become overly confident and re-open too quickly, which could allow rampant community transmissions to take hold again.

At University Medical Center, we continue to be vigilant in our efforts to protect our patients and employees. We require all individuals entering UMC locations to wear protective masks, and we require all College of Community Health Sciences employees to wear face coverings at all times unless they are inside their personal offices. Masks, frequent handwashing and social distancing have been an effective safety strategy for patients and employees in our medical practice.

Many of our physicians and faculty are also part of a larger group working to develop safe strategies for re-opening The University of Alabama campus. As UA explores returning to full operation, it is critically important that we all remain focused on prevention and mitigation efforts aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

At University Medical Center, we want to be a good example to our patients and the community during COVID-19. We need to remember that this crisis is not over, and the hard work continues.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center