Alabama COVID-19

birminghamalcitycouncil.org

The Birmingham City Council has approved a citywide mask ordinance that will extend through May 24th.  This goes beyond Governor Kay Ivey’s order which is set to expire on Friday. Crystal Smitherman is on the Birmingham City Council. She said there was some pushback from the small business community. 

“I think that is due in part to instances around the country where people have been very violent and aggressive towards store owners for making them wear a mask.” 

Smitherman ultimately feels that citizens will follow the rules. 

Ivey: Biden request will not change mask mandate end

Mar 30, 2021
Auburn University

 

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is maintaining that the statewide mask mandate end April 9, despite President Joe Biden's request it be extended.

On Monday Biden asked that mask requirements and other restrictions to be upheld out of precaution of a "fourth surge" of COVID-19. 

An Ivey spokeswoman said the state is moving toward personal responsibility over government mandates.

Left Hand Soap Company
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Local businesses in Tuscaloosa and around Alabama were closing about this time last year due to the pandemic.

The decision to reopen has been a tough one for many business owners. Tuscaloosa’s Left Hand Soap Company remains an online-only and pickup business. Their shop has stayed closed to make sure they can keep producing essential products like soap and hand sanitizer.

Soapy Jones owns Left Hand Soap Company. She said some businesses have to reopen earlier than others to stay afloat.

Kay Ivey mask
Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is urging people to wear masks in public after the statewide mask mandate expires next month.

On the 22, Ivey said masks remain one of the most important tools for fighting COVID-19.

Her office also released sign designs for businesses to use to request patrons to wear masks.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility was also expanded in Alabama on the 22.

The expansion adds more than 2 million people to the groups who can get a COVID-19 vaccination in the state.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health says the State’s Black Belt region has the highest percentage of people getting COVID-19 vaccinations. ADPH just released the first county numbers for the percentage of people over age 16 that have received a shot. Alabama Public Radio has been focusing coverage on the disparities related to the coronavirus, both on which communities are being hit particularly hard, and those areas having a hard time getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

coronavirus COVID-19
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Alabama saw an overnight 50 percent increase in COVID-19 cases earlier this week.

The reason may be over 4,000 backlogged cases dating from October of last year. The cases were reported last Monday.

Dr. Karen Landers is the District Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health. She said they do not have control over entities reporting their numbers to the department.  

Life after COVID-19

Mar 18, 2021
vaccine
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An APR News feature

Alabama and the rest of the country have been in the COVID-19 pandemic for a year now.

3 legislators test positive for COVID-19 this week

Mar 18, 2021
COVID-19 coronavirus test
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Three Alabama lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Alabama House of Representatives spokesman Clay Redden said three lawmakers tested positive, but did not disclose the names for privacy reasons.

Legislative staff are regularly tested for the virus and have been taking precautions such as wearing masks, limiting building access and spreading the 105 House members out to two floors. 

Alabama jobless rate at 4.3%, lowest of pandemic

Mar 16, 2021

 

Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

It hit 4.3 percent in January, lower than the rate of 4.7 percent in December.

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said the drop is encouraging.

Shelby County has the lowest rate at 2.3 percent, and Wilcox County is highest at 12.4 percent.

COVID-19 mask
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Birmingham plans on keeping its mask requirement even after the state mandate expires on April 9.

The Birmingham City Council president William Parker said city officials will push to keep the requirement for face masks in public places after talking with medical experts.

A vote on a city mask ordinance will likely take place on April 6.

Bama Tracker
www.bamatracker.com

 

 

The creator of an Alabama COVID-19 tracking website is waiting to see what the future of his creation will hold once the impact of the pandemic eases.

David Marconnet's site presents publically available data about the virus in easily accessible, understandable charts and graphs.

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The Alabama National Guard will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines in 24 rural counties later this month.

The Guard has two 55-member mobile vaccination teams that can provide 8,000 doses a week starting March 23. The governor's office said members will work with public health and local officials to determine rollout logistics.

Out of Alabama's 4.9 million residents, 15.2 percent have received at least one dose of vaccine.

 

Tuscaloosa City Schools will continue to meet four days a week in person for the rest of the school year.

Superintendent Mike Daria announced Friday that the five-day-a-week schedule will resume next fall for the 2021-22 school year.

Daria said several factors were considered when making the decision including employee vaccinations and the needs of students and educators.

State Health Officer: Please wear masks after April 9

Mar 8, 2021
Dr. Scott Harris
montgomeryadvertiser.com

 

With and end date to the governor's mask mandate in place, officials are recommending that Alabamians continue wearing masks even after the deadline.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said people should keep taking precautions after April 9 when the mandate ends. 

Gov. Kay Ivey announced last Thursday that she would not extend the order after it expires.

Harris said he hopes that on April 10 as many people will be wearing masks as the day before.

 

Gov. Kay Ivey is extending her Safer at Home order. Alabamians will still have to wear their masks until April 9. Ivey said while she is extending the mask order, this will be the last time. 

“After April the 9th, I will not keep the mask order in effect," she said in a press conference. "There is no question that wearing masks has been one of our greatest tools in combating the spread of the virus. That, along with good hygiene and social distancing has helped more people from getting sick, or worse, dying.” 

Trust and transportation may be keeping some Gulf coast residents from a COVID shot

Mar 4, 2021

An APR news feature

Trust and transportation keeping some Gulf coast residents from a COVID-19 shot COVID-19 rates are falling in Alabama and across the country. Still, state health officials are looking at statistics that show only 13 percent of Alabamians have been vaccinated. Healthcare providers remain worried about apparent reluctance to get a coronavirus shot.

House committee advances ban on curbside voting

Mar 3, 2021

 

An Alabama legislative committee has advanced a bill that forbids curbside voting.

The House Constitution and Elections Committee voted on Wednesday to send the bill by Republican Rep. Wes Allen to the House floor.

Health expert: Too soon to ease Alabama mask mandate

Mar 3, 2021
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With the state's mask mandate set to expire on Friday, health officials are voicing their support for an extension.

Dr. Sarah Nafziger at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said in a news briefing Wednesday that she favors extending the mandate. She said easing restrictions before more people are vaccinated could reverse the trend of improving COVID-19 case numbers.

Gov. Kay Ivey has not announced her plans for expiration or extension of the order after other Republican-led states have started to ease restrictions.

Emergency rental assistance program available in Alabama

Mar 3, 2021
Alabama Housing Finance Authority emergency rental assistance
ahfa.com

 

Gov. Kay Ivey has authorized a program to help Alabama residents who are struggling to pay rent during the pandemic.

The Alabama Housing Finance Authority will implement the state's new COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.

The AHFA starting accepting application from landlords and tenants on Monday.

COVID-19 coronavirus
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A memorial to honor the victims and survivors of COVID-19 was observed by the City of Dothan Monday.  

Mark Sabila is mayor of Dothan. He issued a proclamation declaring March 1 a day to honor pandemic victims at a February City Commission meeting.  

Sabila said the public being overloaded with information has been the main challenge of leading Dothan through the pandemic.  

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The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Alabama is going down drastically and healthcare providers are working to keep the good news in perspective. The medical community thinks a combination of vaccinations, mask wearing, and the end of the holiday surge are reasons for lower case load.

Dr. Thomas Weida practices at University Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. He said even getting a vaccination doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

heart
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February is heart month and medical researchers are finding a possible link between COVID-19 and future cardiovascular problems.

Alabama ranks 51 out of 52 in the nation when it comes to heart health.  

Dr. David Goff is with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He said those who already have heart health issues especially need to adhere to health guidelines.  

Dr. Scott Harris
montgomeryadvertiser.com

 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama has gone down, but health leaders are cautiously optimistic.

Dr. Scott Harris said the state numbers are improving but that people should continue wearing masks and avoiding crowds.

Hospitalizations, daily cases and the percentage of positive tests in the state have dropped to similar rates as last summer and autumn. Harris said he thinks immunity from vaccinations and virus exposure may be a factor.

The number of deaths from the virus in Alabama set a record in January.

Alabama virus hospitalizations hit lowest point since fall

Feb 19, 2021
hospital bed
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The number of Alabamians hospitalized for COVID-19 has dropped to its lowest point since last autumn.

On Thursday there were 1,003 people in state hospitals after there were 3,000 in January.

The president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, said the drop is a positive sign but that people still need to take precautions to prevent further spread the virus.

Auburn University fully returning to on-campus operations

Feb 8, 2021
Auburn University

 

Auburn University has resumed on-campus classes and activities after putting operations on hold due to the coronavirus.

The school's optional remote instruction has ended and most employees are back on campus after working virtually.

The university's number of COVID-19 cases has been trending downward since 113 cases were originally reported back in January,

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Alabama continues COVID-19 vaccination efforts with eight new large-scale vaccination sites opening across the state today. They’re taking place in Anniston, Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Selma and Tuscaloosa.

Dr. Scott Harris is Alabama’s health officer. He said the plan is for the sites to administer 1,000 doses per day every day this week, but he warns the state’s supply won’t get to everyone who is eligible.  

Lawmakers fast-track COVID-19 liability protection bill

Feb 4, 2021

 

The Alabama Senate passed a bill that provides businesses and others protection from liability in coronavirus-related lawsuits.

The legislation now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives after being approved without debate on a 27-1 vote in the Senate.

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr said the bill would protect companies, churches and other entities from virus-related claims if they were following appropriate COVID-19 precautions.

 

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is going slowly in Tuskegee because of the city's painful history with medicine.

For 40 years the government used Black men in the city as test subjects when studying syphilis.

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Precautions against COVID-19 may be making the annual flu season less deadly in Alabama.

Health care providers are continuing to press the message about wearing face masks and social distancing to help avoid the coronavirus. These actions as well as washing your hands frequently are also recommended ways to keep from catching influenza.

Dr. Jane Weida teaches family medicine at the University of Alabama. She said Alabama’s flu case numbers before and during the COVID outbreak are dramatic.

COVID-19 coronavirus
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A second city official in Clanton has died from COVID-19, only six months after the mayor died of the virus.

City Council member Sammy Wilson died on Thursday while being treated for the coronavirus at a hospital. In July, longtime mayor Billy Joe Driver died after leading the city for 36 years.

Current mayor Jeff Mims said the town was thankful for Wilson's service, and fellow council member Mary Mell Smith said his death was "a big loss." 

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