Alabama COVID-19

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey on Friday estimated that up to half of the state’s public school students will be attending classes remotely in the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 coronavirus
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama reported more than 2,200 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began. 

The spike came after several days of declining case numbers and as a number of school systems announced that students will not immediately return to classrooms this fall.

 

An APR News feature

The return of sports is on everyone’s mind as fall nears and the answer will largely impact the economy as a whole.  

Jim Page, President and CEO of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, said that football season and sports in general are important to the economy.  

“We could get by if football season were modified to a great extent,” Page said.  

Kentuck Festival of the Arts
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The 49th Kentuck Festival of the Arts is canceled.

Kentuck’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on canceling the festival, always held the third weekend in October, because of the ongoing COVID-19 threat.

Instead, there will be a virtual celebration, with more details coming in August.

 

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Alabamians can now renew their driver licenses online twice within 12 years.

Previously, Alabama residents could only renew online once per eight years.  However, the ongoing challenges of the pandemic made the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency change its online renewal process for the time being.

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Eugene Tinker, a Sawyerville native, believes he has found the solution to concerns about spreading the coronavirus inside schools. Tinker has tinkered with a device that automatically reads body temperatures and tests for signs of the virus before someone walks inside a building. Tinker introduced this device to the County Commission July 16.

Tuscaloosa County School System
tcss.net

 

Tuscaloosa County School System Superintendent Keri Johnson released a video last week with answers for parents and students regarding the system’s reopening plans.

“Our School system serves 18,000 students,” Johnson said. “There are no perfect solutions and no one solution is perfect for everyone.”

The system is offering on-campus and off-campus options, but even the on-campus option could feature some online learning, Johnson said.

ADHP

 

Social media has been a breeding ground for coronavirus rumors.

This weekend, the Alabama Department of Public Health sent out a series of Tweets dispelling misinformation that has been circling across the internet recently.

Dr. Michael Saag
Associated Press

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Medical professionals in Alabama are witnessing two starkly different realities. 

Inside the hospitals, they attend to patients fighting for their lives in overcrowded intensive care units. Outside the medical centers' doors, they see a society that appears to be blithely ignoring the safety precautions that experts have recommended to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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PELHAM, Ala. (AP) — A new health rule mandating face masks in public in Alabama is off to an uneven start. 

Many people are covering up to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. But others are refusing and authorities taking a generally hands-off approach to enforcement.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5% as the economy recovers during a worsening coronavirus threat. 

State statistics show the jobless rate for June was down substantially from April, when it hit 12.9% as almost 217,000 lost their jobs as businesses closed or cut back because of the pandemic. But some 165,700 people are still out of work. And Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington says initial unemployment claims filed each week are on the rise.

COVID-19 mask
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s health order requiring masks in public places has taken effect as COVID-19 hospitalizations reached another new high in the state. 

The Mobile County public school system also announced Thursday that students will not return to classroom this fall because of the state’s rise in cases.

Kay Ivey mask
Associated Press

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama will begin requiring face masks in public as health officials try to quell a surge of new coronavirus cases that are filling up hospitals. 

Gov. Kay Ivey announced the rule on Wednesday, a day after the state reported a pandemic-high of 40 deaths in a single day.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has recorded its highest one-day death count from the new coronavirus as the head of a state hospital group sounds a warning about the pandemic. 

A site that tracks COVID-19 deaths in the state reported 40 new deaths Tuesday, the most in a single day since the pandemic took hold in March. The illness has killed more than 1,130 people statewide, and more than 56,400 cases have been confirmed.

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An APR News Feature

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Republican leader of the Alabama Senate said he used a poor choice of words when he suggested rising COVID-19 numbers were a good thing and he wanted more people to get infected with the new coronavirus. 

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s elections chief is telling local officials that they cannot require voters to wear masks at polling places during next week’s election.  

The direction conflicts with local mandates, approved in several cities and counties, to wear masks in public places.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Friday that while it can be strongly recommended that an individual wear a mask, it cannot be required.

Clanton mayor
clanton.al.us

 

CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — A longtime Alabama mayor diagnosed with the disease caused by the new coronavirus has died. 

The Clanton Fire Department announced on its Facebook page Thursday that Mayor Billy Joe Driver had died while fighting COVID-19. The 84-year-old Driver served with the department before becoming mayor of the central Alabama town of 8,800 people in 1984.

News outlets report that Driver had been hospitalized since late June.

The debate over Mobile's COVID-19 face mask ordinance

Jul 9, 2020
APR's Guy Busby

An APR News Feature

Tomorrow marks one week since the city of Mobile made the wearing of masks mandatory. Alabama’s port city joined Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Montgomery in requiring residents to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The law includes the possibility of fines for non-compliance. The city council passed the ordinance after debate by those for and against the issue.

COVID-19 coronavirus
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama reached new highs over four consecutive days for the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. 

On Wednesday there were 1,110 people hospitalized across the state because of the coronavirus.

Doctors have expressed concern about the sharp rise in hospitalizations. The state had 683 hospitalized patients two weeks ago on June 24.  Approximately 88% of intensive care beds in the state are full. 

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A public school district in Alabama will require students to wear masks for in-person classes when the school year kicks off in August. 

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The country’s top infectious diseases experts says states like Alabama have a window of opportunity to bring coronavirus cases under control, and spoke in favor of state and local requirements to wear masks in public. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the United States is in the midst of a resurgence of new coronavirus cases, sometimes seeing daily cases almost double over the country’s previous high.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The number of COVID-19 patients in Alabama hospitals rose to more than over 1,000 as health officials continued to urge people to take precautions amid an uptick in cases.  

Alabama on Thursday saw the highest number of cases reported in one day, at 1,700, and on Monday had more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number since the pandemic began.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey says nearly $49 million in federal virus response aid will pay to boost internet access for students, offer digital textbooks and help with other education budget needs. 

The dollars come from an education relief fund created by Congress that allows governors to determine the spending plans. Alabama’s Republican governor is sending her state’s allocation to the state education department. 

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An APR feature

The Fourth of July has come and gone but grilling season is in full swing in Alabama.  Getting meat to go on those grills might be a little more difficult than usual. COVID-19 has not only limited the number of people who can come to the cookout, it is also taking a toll on Alabama’s livestock producers.  

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Public Health said it could not verify reports of so-called COVID-19 parties where students deliberately tried to become infected. 

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told news outlets recently that she heard of students holding parties and wagering over who would become infected.

 

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (AP) — Organizers are scaling back plans for a major fishing tournament on the Alabama coast so it can be held despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has grown to include music events and a “liars contest” during 86 years in operation. The three-day event draws thousands. But this year's tournament will just involve fishing when it begins July 17 at Dauphin Island.

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — After a surge in coronavirus cases following Memorial Day, doctors and public health experts fear Alabama will see another spike after this weekend’s July 4 holiday celebrations. 

In the hopes of avoiding a repeat, health officials pleaded with people to use caution by avoiding large crowds and wearing masks over their mouths and noses while in public spaces.  

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Labor has created an appointment process for people to get in-person help with employment claims after people were sleeping overnight in a parking lot in the hopes of seeing someone. 

The department announced that beginning on July 6 it will take 300 appointments per day in Montgomery.  

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