Alabama COVID-19

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
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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.

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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." 

Alabama becomes latest state to detect COVID-19 variant

Jan 28, 2021
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A new strain of COVID-19 has been detected in Alabama that is more transmissible than the original virus.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said the variant originally from the United Kingdom was identified in two children and one adult. The strain has also been recorded in 24 other states.

Experts said the new variant is more contagious, but not necessarily more harmful.

Alabama’s current death toll from COVID-19 stands at over 7,000. The virus reportedly is changing how people remember those they’ve lost. The funeral industry says cremations are up. And the coronavirus is delaying memorial services for some families whether the cause was COVID-19 or not.

Outside one closed gas station in Fairhope, there’s a white board with hand scrawled messages. When Curtis Rewerts died of natural causes last April, there wasn’t a funeral. But that’s not stopping people whose lives were touched by Rewerts to share their stories.

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Alabamians will be in masks for a while longer.

Gov. Kay Ivey has extended her “Safer at Home” order until March 5. This means masks are required in public when interacting within 6 feet of other people. Ivey made the announcement with Alabama’s State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. 

Ivey said the pandemic is filling up hospitals. Last week, she said ICU beds were hard to come by.

UA tests students for COVID-19 upon return to campus

Jan 12, 2021
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Students returning to the University of Alabama have one bit of homework to do before the start of classes tomorrow.

Heathcare providers want all 10,000 students living on campus to be retested for the coronavirus. Today is the deadline for those tests to be done.

Alabama mayor hospitalized with coronavirus infection

Jan 11, 2021

Another Alabama mayor has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the fifth city leader to battle the virus.

Northport mayor Bobby Herndon posted an update on Facebook Monday saying that he was admitted to the hospital Sunday night after learning he had tested positive. In the post, the 67-year-old mayor also said his breathing is fine but that he is being treated for blood clots. 

Auburn provost Bill Hardgrave
auburn.edu

 

Faculty members at Auburn University have called for a vote of no-confidence in provost Bill Hardgrave over his handling of class scheduling amid the coronavirus pandemic. The University Senate is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to address the complaints.

Grievances have been voiced for months since more than 500 faculty members met virtually in November to address Hardgrave's insistence on returning to in-person instruction in the spring.

Alabama hospital opening permanent drive-thru clinic

Jan 11, 2021
COVID-19 coronavirus test
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East Alabama is getting a permanent drive-thru clinic thanks to a local hospital. 

Elmore Community Hospital in Wetumpka will open the clinic on Tuesday and will operate from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. five days a week. Spokesperson Heidi Smith said the clinic is meant to help COVID-19 patients and other nearby clinics that are overwhlemed. 

Patients wanting to visit the clinic must sign up in advance to schedule a time to come.

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State medical groups are sponsoring a video contest to explain why it’s important to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Hospital Association, and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama are sponsoring the “Mask Up Alabama” video contest.

The videos should be 30-second or less and need to highlight basic information related to mask-wearing and COVID-19.

Birmingham mayor released after COVID-19 treatment

Jan 6, 2021

 

The Birmingham mayor has been released after being hospitalized for COVID-19. 

The city said Randall Woodfin went home Wednesday to continue recovering and quarantine.

The 39-year-old was admitted to Princeton Baptist Medical Center on Monday with pneumonia in his left lung caused by the virus. He was treated with Remdesivir and convalescent plasma therapy during his stay in the hospital.

 

Several mayors in Alabama’s major cities have announced they’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Alabama veterans will be among the first in the state to receive the coronavirus vaccine. 

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs said residents and staff at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City will receive the first round of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. The three other state veterans' homes will administer vaccines over the next two weeks.

Christmas in the ICU: Decorations, lights and many tears

Dec 22, 2020
East Alabama Medical Center
Associated Press

 

Holidays are not easy for anyone this year thanks to COVID-19, but one Alabama hospital is doing its best to cheer up those who will be spending them away from home and family. 

Staff members at East Alabama Medical Center have decorated the intensive care unit with Christmas trees, snowman stickers and lights. They said they hope that the merriment lightens the mental load of their patients. 

Alabama hospital ends elective surgeries over virus spike

Dec 17, 2020
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A hospital in Dothan is suspending elective surgeries because of an increase of COVID-19 patients needing care.

Southeast Health announced that the change would take effect on Thursday and asked residents to wear face masks and continue to take other safety steps. 

Nursing students, teachers to fill gaps at UAB Hospital

Dec 16, 2020

 

Graduate students and faculty from the University of Alabama at Birmingham nursing school are going to begin working with COVID-19 patients.

All 120 people joining the UAB Hospital care team are licensed nurses. Undergraduate students will also be helping as technicians with vaccine distribution.

The hospital has already enlisted retired nurses to help with patient care due to being short-staffed.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health isn’t saying which three hospitals got the first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for security sake. 

Cullman Regional Medical Center says it will start giving shots today.

Alabama loosens licensing rules for doctors as virus rages

Dec 15, 2020
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Out-of-state doctors will now have an easier time working in Alabama amidst the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine.

Two medical boards decided to let physicians from other states and Canada seek temporary emergency licenses to work in the state. 

The Alabama Hospital Association reported staff shortages due to an inadequate number of beds and lack of staff members to treat patients because they are also falling ill. 

The announcement was made Monday when initial shipment of 41,000 doses of vaccine started arriving in Alabama.

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A Medal of Honor recipient from Alabama who died of COVID-19 will be laid to rest this week at Arlington National Cemetry. 

The body of Bennie G. Adkins of Opelika was escorted to the Atlanta airport by the Lee County Sheriff's Office on Monday and will be buried with full military honors on Wednesday in Arlington. He will rest beside his late wife, who died last year. 

Adkins was 86 when he died in April after contracting COVID-19.

State virus deaths top 4,000 as state sets virus records

Dec 11, 2020
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The number of COVID-19 patients in Alabama continues to grow as the avilabilty of intensive care beds is on the decline. 

Cases and hospitalizations have both hit new highs this week.

Head of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson said the increase is a result of Thanksgiving gatherings. 

The percentage of empty ICU beds hit a new low of 7 percent while the number of confirmed and probable virus deaths topped 4,000 on Thursday.

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