Category: Coronavirus

High Unemployment Hits Even Inmates; Prisons Losing Millions of Dollars

Nearly 40 million Americans are out of work. So are about 3,300 Alabama prison inmates eligible to work for private and public employers.

The Alabama Department of Corrections’ 22 work release and work centers, which include a center for women inmates based in north Birmingham, suspended operations March 18 because of the growing threat of the coronavirus. The suspension originally was slated to run through May 22, but it has not been lifted.

“At this time, the ADOC is working on a comprehensive plan to resume more standard operations but has not yet established a definitive timeline for resuming our work release and work center programs,” corrections information specialist Samantha Rose said in an email. Read more.

Two More Weeks of Face Coverings Required, Birmingham Council Says

The Birmingham City Council has extended the city’s face covering ordinance for two more weeks. The updated order, now effective through June 12, also relaxes the original law’s controversial penalties for violation, which had drawn criticism from state and local leaders.

“What we’re doing is going to save lives,” Councilor John Hilliard said. “Just a sneeze on someone could kill them. Isn’t that incredible?” Read more.

COVID-19 Cases up by Almost 500 Thursday

Alabama added 498 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, taking the state’s total since the pandemic began to 16,530. In all, 591 people have died from the disease, eight of them on Thursday. The number of new cases for Thursday is greater than the seven-day average of daily cases for the past week, which was 425.71. But it is lower than the number of new cases logged several days last week. In the past nine days, the state has had two record-breaking days for new cases, including a jump of 664 on Tuesday. Read more.

Senator and State Health Officer Tackle Complex Slate of Coronavirus Questions

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris continued to sound the alarm today about the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases in the state. In a Facebook Live appearance on Jones’ feed, the freshman Democrat and the Republican-appointed health officer said people needed to see beyond politics and commit to social distancing and wearing masks if the state’s infection rate is going to drop. Read more.

Alabama’s Absentee Ballot Rules Draw Increased Scrutiny Amid Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred a new wave of legal challenges to Alabama’s voting laws, particularly its absentee ballot requirements. The League of Women Voters of Alabama is the latest group to file a lawsuit against the state claiming its voting rules are too restrictive. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Montgomery County Circuit Court, urges state officials to expand absentee ballot access during the November general election. Read more.

New Positive COVID-19 Case Numbers Take Sharper Rise as Looser Restrictions Take Hold in Alabama

Alabamians are enjoying a return to something slightly closer to the old, pre-COVID-19 lifestyle, but a steeper increase in the number of new positive cases in the past week could prove worrisome for government officials as they seek to further loosen the reins on the public and reopen the economy.

The number of new cases rose by more than 22% during the seven-day period ending Wednesday, compared to the week before, which itself had shown the highest rate of increase in cases since the pandemic began. The most recent figures show that 16,032 people have tested positive for coronavirus since testing began in March, according to data updated daily by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The total stood at 13,052 last week, giving the state an increase of 2,980 cases this week. Read more.

UAB Doctor Calls Rise in COVID-19 Cases ‘Concerning,’ Urges Personal Responsibility to Stem the Spread

UAB epidemiologist Dr. Rachael Lee today said that Alabamians will have to exercise personal responsibility to keep the state’s increasing COVID-19 infections from overwhelming the health care system.

Lee said that the increasing number of positive cases is “concerning,” particularly as the state increasingly relaxes restrictions and as the number of tests administered remains steady. Alabama is one of several states being watched because the number of confirmed positive cases of the potentially deadly viral infection are going up.

Lee held UAB’s weekly coronavirus press conference the day after the largest single day increase in coronavirus cases in the state. She addressed a wide range of questions during the more than 45-minute-long press conference, dealing largely with the spike in cases, hospitals’ nearing capacity in some areas, how the coronavirus differs from the flu, remdesivir, the feared second wave and the ongoing need for personal protective measures. Read more.

UAB Doctor Urges Personal Responsibility for Stemming Rise in COVID-19 Cases

UAB epidemiologist Dr. Rachael Lee today said that Alabamians will have to exercise personal responsibility to keep the state’s increasing COVID-19 infections from overwhelming the health care system.

Lee said that the increasing number of positive cases is “concerning,” particularly as the state increasingly relaxes restrictions and as the number of tests administered remains steady. Alabama is one of several states being watched because the number of confirmed positive cases of the potentially deadly viral infection are going up. Read more.

Alabama Reports Highest Number of New Cases to Date … Again

Alabama posted its largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases Tuesday. At midnight, 664 new cases of the disease had been reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health for the day, taking the state’s confirmed cases to 15,650. Also, 14 more people died Tuesday, taking the total to 580. The increases are part of trend as daily new case numbers grow. Read more.