Alabama COVID-19

COVID-19 minorities
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COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Alabama, but help may be on the way. Over 40,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are expected to come to the Yellowhammer State next week. 

Studies have shown throughout the pandemic that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting minority communities. However, many in the Black community appear hesitant to get the vaccine. Researchers believe this is tied to a long-held distrust of the government because of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Kay Ivey
Associated Press

Gov. Kay Ivey has extended Alabama's mask and "safer at home" orders through to Jan. 22, 2021.

Ivey made the announcement as just two days before both orders were set to expire. 

Alabama's COVID-19 cases continue to rise after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Customers of Walmart and Sam’s Club can buy home test kits for COVID-19. 

The chain, which operates close to 150 stores in Alabama, said the kits are available online. Walmart and Sam’s Club are offering the kits in partnership with a California-based company. This isn’t the home kit approved by the FDA last month.

Dr. Richard Friend is the Dean of the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences and said the concern with these kits is how test results are confirmed.

Guntersville City Schools
guntersvilleboe.com

The superintendent of Guntersville City Schools announced his retirement due to the coronavirus on Monday.

Brett Stanton cited the challenges public education has undergone due to COVID-19 as his reason for leaving. He started serving as superintendent in 2015 and said his last day will be Dec. 14.

The school board is working on finding temporary leadership until they hire Stanton's replacement.

 Larry Dixon
Associated Press

A former state senator expressed regret over his mishandling of COVID-19 before dying from the virus last week.

Larry Dixon died at the age of 78 on Friday after telling his wife he messed up by letting his guard down. He told her to tell people that the virus is real. 

Dr. David Thrasher has shared the details of the former senator's final moments with the family's permission in the hopes that people learn how quickly and easily the virus spreads.

Governor Ivey's "Safer at Home" order set to end Friday

Dec 8, 2020
pixabay.com

Governor Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home order is set to end this Friday. The current action is in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Alabama and the growing number of cases and deaths from the virus. It requires limits on the number of people in restaurants, bars, and other venues. It also continues the call for social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Dr. Karen Landers is a physician with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She says relaxed restrictions aren’t an excuse for unsafe behavior.

Alabama COVID-19 Update: Dec. 7 2020

Dec 7, 2020

Alabama hits new record for virus hospitalizations

Dec 7, 2020
UAB Hospital
UAB

A record number of Alabamians are hospitalized with COVID-19. 

On Monday over 2,000 patients were in hospitals around the state.

Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Hospital Association, said at least three hospitals began postponing non-emergency procedures due to staff shortages. Williamson is concerned that the holidays will only make things worse.

As of Monday, 272,229 Alabamians had the virus, 2,079 were hospitalized, 3,892 have died due to COVID-19.

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The Alabama statewide mask mandate is set to expire next Friday and health officials are asking leaders to extend it.

Dr. Sarah Nafziger of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said it's "critically important" for Gov. Kay Ivey to maintain the requirement. The head of the Alabama Hospital Association said the organization would support the extension of the mandate into January of next year.

As of Friday, Alabama has 264199 cases of COVID-19.

World War II vet beats COVID-19, marks 104th birthday

Dec 3, 2020
Holly Wooten McDonald via AP

An Alabama veteran just turned 104 after beating the coronavirus. 

Major Wooten of Madison is recovering and on the mend according to his granddaughter who said the virus made him physically drained and mentally fuzzy. 

Wooten tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 23 after his daughter had the virus. He was treated in the hospital and went home Tuesday, just two days before turning 104.

Alabama sets new record of daily COVID-19 cases

Dec 3, 2020
COVID-19 coronavirus
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Alabama reported over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a new record high. 

Dr. Scott Harris said that 1,801 people were hospitalized with the virus, which is the highest number the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to officials with the Alabama Hospital Association, one in three intensive care patients in Alabama have COVID-19. 

Stan Ingold

The new coronavirus is running amok in Alabama. Health officials are concerned a new wave of COVID-19 cases will not level out until after the holidays. That means personal protective equipment is still in high demand. Most people are wearing masks and face shields. One of the other main pieces of PPE is disposable gloves. A plant in west Alabama is the only factory in the nation that makes a certain kind of these gloves.

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is now pushing for school systems across the state to go back to in-person learning as soon as possible in 2021. 

“Due to COVID-19, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for everyone, especially for our parents, teachers and students," Ivey said in a press release from her office on Tuesday. "I’m extremely grateful for the flexibility everyone has shown as they have adapted to virtual instruction. However, virtual and remote instruction are stop-gap measures to prevent our students from regressing academically during the pandemic."

hospital bed
Pixabay

A wave of COVID-19 cases is starting to overwhelm Alabama hospitals after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

On Monday the Alabama Hospital Association said only 11 percent of the state's intensive care beds were available. Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said health care systems could be overwhelmed in as soon as two weeks.

There have been 252,900 cases of the coronavirus in Alabama and 3,638 people have died.

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Small businesses in Alabama are looking to get an economic boost from holiday cheer. COVID-19 is changing the holiday shopping experience at a time when mom-and-pop shops are on a thin lifeline from the pandemic.

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The acceleration of coronavirus cases is causing an existential crisis for America’s retailers and spooking their customers just as the critically important holiday shopping season nears. It’s also raising the risk that the economy could slide into a “double-dip” recession this winter as states and cities re-impose restrictions on businesses and consumers stay at home to avoid contracting the disease.

Pandemic spread causes cities to cancel holiday parades

Nov 23, 2020
blog.al.com

Cities across the state are canceling Christmas parades due to the spread of COVID-19. 

Birmingham and Anniston both canceled festivities last week after Bessemer, Gadsden and Madison had already called off their parades. A few tree lightings are still taking place, with the option to watch the ceremonies online.

Cases of the coronavirus have continues to rise in Alabama.

Alabama coronavirus app part of growing multistate network

Nov 20, 2020
Pixabay

Contact tracing in Alabama is starting to spread.

The GuideSafe Exposure Notification app notifies people about possible exposure to the coronavirus. The Alabama version used to only work for those who downloaded that state's version. Thursday it joined a larger network of 13 states and Washington D.C.

The app uses Bluetooth to signal if two cell phones are within 6 feet of each other for more than 15 minutes. If one user later tests positive for COVID-19, they report it to the app, which then notifies those who had been close by.

Life in COVID-19 quarantine, a tale of 3 UA students

Nov 19, 2020
APR's Pat Duggins

An APR News Feature

There are certain things you expect from college life at the University of Alabama. The list includes worrying about midterms, finding your way to class, and of course Crimson Tide football. This year is different. The pandemic has forced many classes online. Coronavirus cases spiked early in the semester, and there’s ongoing concern over how to quarantine COVID positive students.

“If you were negative, they’ll call you up and ask what’s your name blah, blah, blah and they’ll tell you to leave," Keyanna said.

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Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt will miss votes in Washington this week after being exposed to COVID-19.   

In a statement, Aderholt said he was in close contact for several hours with someone who later tested positive for the virus and that he plans to quarantine in Alabama.

He tested negative and has not shown any symptoms, but said he wanted to be careful to not expose the virus to anyone.

AP Photo/Press-Register, Mike Brantley

 

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The city of Mobile is moving ahead with plans to hold Mardi Gras celebrations in early 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has about six weeks to spend almost $1 billion in remaining coronavirus relief funds or the money will revert to Washington, D.C. 

States have until Dec. 30 to spend their share of CARES Act dollars. The state so far has spent about $850 million of its $1.7 billion allocation, according to a dashboard maintained by the state Department of Finance.

 

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. (AP) — A central Alabama school system and a Birmingham elementary school are shifting to online learning because of surging coronavirus infections. 

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Coronavirus continues to upset life in Alabama with an uptick in cases going into the holiday season. Local animal shelters are seeing more adoptions amid the pandemic with more people wanting furry friends, but there’s good and bad that comes with those higher rates.

APR took a trip to the Dog House. A chorus of barking greets anyone who pulls up to the live-in area that houses two volunteer workers with the Humane Society of West Alabama and a pack of dogs spaced out in individual kennels. It’s a special day because a furry friend could soon be on the way to her forever home.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The number of people in Alabama hospitals with COVID-19 is creeping upward as health officials expressed concern about the trajectory of the pandemic headed into flu and holiday season. 

State Health Officer Scott Harris said Tuesday that state numbers are clearly moving upward. Alabama Department of Public Health statistics showed 1,206 people were hospitalized Tuesday with the disease, an increase of nearly 400 people over the last month.

 

No. 1 Alabama at LSU and No. 5 Texas A&M at Tennessee won't be played Saturday because of COVID-19 issues, raising the number of Southeastern Conference football games postponed this week to three.

The Aggies and Volunteers will be rescheduled for Dec. 12, but the Crimson Tide's game against the defending national champion Tigers is in danger of not being played at all. Both teams are coming off their open dates and LSU already has a game against No. 6 Florida scheduled for Dec. 12 that had to be postponed last month.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have increased more than 45% in the last month in Alabama. 

Statistics released by the Alabama Department of Public Health on Monday showed 1,174 people hospitalized with the disease after the weekend. That's roughly the same number as in mid-August when caseloads spiked following the July 4 holiday.

AEA: Doctors letting quarantined kids return early to school

Nov 10, 2020
Alabama Education Association

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An organization for Alabama teachers is expressing concern that children are being allowed to return to school before the end of required COVID-19 quarantine periods. 

The Alabama Education Association sent a statement Thursday to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.  

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — State health officials are urging people to serve up a heaping side of precaution at Thanksgiving. 

The national holiday comes during a national surge in COVID-19 cases. Health officials are urging people to skip large family gatherings in favor of scaled-back events.

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