Alabama coronavirus

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Officials in Alabama’s capital city have approved a hazard pay bonus for first responders and some workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The city of Tuscaloosa is easing pandemic restrictions by allowing bars popular with University of Alabama students to reopen with limits. 

The change that took effect Tuesday follows complaints from bar owners that a two-week shutdown meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus was unfair and hurting business. But critics charge that allowing bars to reopen after the closure will make it easier for illness to spread.

 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A north Alabama county is delaying all capital murder trials because of the pandemic.

Attorneys typically call a larger-than-normal number of potential jurors for capital cases. The presiding judge in Madison County, Ruth Ann Hall, says the courthouse in Huntsville doesn't have enough space to allow for proper social distancing in those instances. So capital cases will be on hold until 2021.

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CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — The death of a longtime mayor has brought about a reckoning in the Alabama town where he spent his entire life.

Residents around Clanton, Alabama, thought of COVID-19 as a distant threat until Mayor Billy Joe Driver died of the illness at age 84 in July.

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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama mayor has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently under quarantine at home. 

The City of Enterprise, in a news release Wednesday, confirms its mayor, William Cooper, was tested as a precaution after a family member tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

Cooper says he's feeling fine, is communicating with his staff and plans to be back in city hall next week.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Health officials fear that Labor Day events meant to attract crowds across Alabama could worsen the state's coronavirus outbreak. 

COVID-19 deaths, cases and positive test results all have been on the rise recently in Alabama.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — City leaders in the home of the University of Alabama are considering $400,000 in aid to help bars that were forced to shut down because of the pandemic. 

Bar owners in Tuscaloosa say they're being hurt by a city order that forced them to close for two weeks after students returned to town and hundreds of new coronavirus infections were confirmed. So officials are considering a package that would provide as much as $400,000 in small business relief.

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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn expects to return to practice Monday minus 16 players sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests. 

Coach Gus Malzahn said Sunday night that the Tigers had five positives early in the week and four more after additional testing Thursday. With contact tracing, seven others who had close contact with them face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — With masks, social distancing and mostly empty stands, the college football season kicked off COVID-19 style. 

Austin Peay and Central Arkansas, two teams fresh from FCS playoff appearances, took the stage at Cramton Bowl Saturday night in the Guardian Kickoff Classic. Central Arkansas won 24-17 but college football was the star of the show.

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Associated Press

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is extending a statewide mask order that health officials have credited with reducing COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Republican governor announced Thursday that the mask order, which had been set to expire next week, will be extended until Oct. 2. The governor also said she will keep in place other health orders, such as reducing occupancy in stores and  limiting table seating in restaurants.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama has recorded 531 cases of COVID-19 on campus since the fall semester began last week. 

The university system released the number of students, faculty and staff testing positive Tuesday, a day after Tuscaloosa's mayor ordered bars closed.

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Tuscaloosa is closing bars for the next two weeks after University of Alabama officials said there has been an unacceptable rise in COVID-19 cases on campus. 

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The head of the Alabama Department of Education says state schools are facing a shortage of workers that’s being made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. 

State Superintendent Eric Mackey says schools can’t find enough substitute teachers, bus drivers or nurses. He says the problem existed last year, and the pandemic has made it worse.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The president of the University of Alabama says  there us an “unacceptable rise” in COVID-19 cases on campus that could derail plans to continue in-person classes. 

President Stuart Bell, in a message to students, said they all must work together to limit the spread of the virus. Bell wrote that violations of health and safety protocols, both on and off campus, are subject to harsh disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from the university.

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The University of Alabama is tightening the reins in an attempt at keeping the campus coronavirus-free and students in in-person classes.

“Tide Together now more than ever, we are seeing the harsh consequences at other universities which have been forced to close abruptly because safety protocols were not followed,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “The eyes of the nation are following us closely and I am confident we will meet and exceed our status as frontrunners.”

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s unemployment rate rose slightly in July as the state continues to feel the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Alabama Department of Labor reported Friday that the state’s preliminary July unemployment rate is 7.9%, up from June’s rate of 7.6%. The number represents 176,637 unemployed people. By comparison, the rate was under 3% last July before the pandemic. 

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THORSBY, Ala. (AP) — High school football is returning to Alabama in a test of whether players can crash into each other, fans can scream and bands can play without worsening the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nearly two dozens games kick off statewide Thursday night, and dozens more are scheduled for Friday.

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Alabamians can now download a mobile app that informs users of potential exposure of COVID-19.

Alabama is one of the first states in the U.S. to launch the GuideSafe Notification App to the general public. University of Alabama Birmingham Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis Carver said this app is an easy-to-use tool that will help control the spread of the virus.

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Alabama Power is offering a payment plan for customers struggling financially and/or medically amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new payment plan option allows customers to pay their past-due energy bill in installments alongside their current energy bill. Alabama Power has not disconnected or charged late fees to any customer affected by COVID-19, and is extending the disconnect suspension to Sept. 28, when standard business operations resume.

Looking ahead to fall, Alabama Power customers will receive a $25 credit on October bills, due to lower fuel expenses.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University said a number of students are quarantined after COVID-19 cases were reported in a campus residence hall and a fraternity house. 

Spokesman Preston Sparks said Wednesday that the university is aware of multiple students who have tested positive for COVID-19. He did not say how many students are quarantined. The school did not name the fraternity or dorm.

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This week, the University of Alabama is making triple sure students have all the face masks they'll ever need.

While on-campus students have already been provided two face masks at move-in, the university is giving away masks at various locations across campus this week.

Students can pick up masks at:

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is seeking to provide out-of-work people with an additional $300 per week in unemployment assistance through a plan announced by President Donald Trump. 

The Alabama Department of Labor made the announcement Tuesday in a news release.

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Alabama will allow about 20% capacity for games at Bryant-Denny Stadium this season.

The university released its plans for dealing with COVID-19 at games, noting seating will be set up to allow social distancing.

The Crimson Tide opens its home schedule against Texas A&M on Oct. 3. Southeastern Conference teams are scheduled to play only 10 league games starting on Sept. 26.

Alabama will have mobile-only ticketing and parking to allow for contactless entry for all venues.

COVID campus
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Officials are looking for ways to improve safety during the pandemic and hopefully save college football after crowds gathered in an entertainment district near the University of Alabama over the weekend. 

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says he's frustrated by what happened. And Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted a photo of a crowded area that said: “Who wants college sports this fall?? Obviously not these people!!"

 

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Technology is coming to every student in one Alabama county as the new school year looms. 

Autauga County’s board of education approved the purchase of 5,000 Chromebooks for students during a recent meeting. That’s on top of the 4,200 laptops that had already been ordered. The system has about 9,200 students enrolled.

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OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama high schools are severely limiting attendance at football games this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Opelika High School will cap attendance at about 30% of the stadium's normal capacity so fans can maintain proper social distancing. Gulf Shores says attendance at athletic events will be cut by 50%. Other schools are also announcing attendance reductions or still working on plans.

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During the coronavirus pandemic, many workers are without jobs, public school students are preparing for online classes, and everyone is being asked to wear masks and to social distance. This ongoing health crisis also appears to be having an impact on the environment.  

 

Kay Ivey COVID-19 presser
Associated Press

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama health officials are encouraged by a decline in COVID-19 cases about a month after a state mask order took effect. 

But they also cautioned that people should not abandon precautions as the state heads to Labor Day gatherings and school openings.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff is quarantining at home after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. 

Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola told reporters Friday that Ivey’s Chief of Staff Jo Bonner does not have symptoms but is in quarantine at home.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama counties saw a large increase in coronavirus cases earlier this week because of backlogged data. 

AL.Com quotes officials from the Alabama Department of Public Health as saying that the high one or two-day increases seen in some counties were due to new testing facilities not reporting information regularly to the agency.

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