Category: Coronavirus

Jefferson County Health Officer Recaps Tumultuous Year, Urges Residents to Continue Precautions so There Isn’t Another One

As the state’s mandatory face mask order ended Friday, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson urged residents to continue using masks and get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I am joining with Gov. Kay Ivey and state Health officer Dr. Scott Harris to encourage the use of masks,” he said.

In his Annual Public Health Address for Jefferson County, Wilson timelined his department’s work last year with other agencies, including UAB and local governmental officials, to staunch the flood of COVID cases. Read more.

New Coronavirus Cases Continue Decline as Mask Mandate Expires in Most of the State; Mandate Remains in Birmingham

There were 318 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday by the Alabama Department of Public Health, continuing an eight-day decline in new cases as the statewide mask mandate expires at 5 p.m. A mask requirement remains in several cities, including Birmingham, where the City Council has mandated masks be worn through May 24. Read more.

‘Vaccine Passport’ Ban Bill Passes Senate

The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a bill to prohibit the issuance of state or local government “vaccine passports.” Senate Bill 267 sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said governments shouldn’t allow access to services based on individuals’ immunization status. Orr talked about the current COVID-19 situation, but the bill isn’t specific to the coronavirus. Read more.

COVID-19 Daily Average for Alabama Drops for Seventh Consecutive Day.

The improvement in key numbers for COVID-19 continued Thursday, with the average for new cases dropping for the seventh consecutive day.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 464 new cases in its daily update. That dropped the daily average for the past week to 293 cases. That compares to 390 cases a day a week ago and less than half the daily average of 601 a month earlier.

There wee 310 people in Alabama hospitals for the coronavirus, according to the report, compared to 516 inpatients on the same date in March.
Read more.

Gov. Kay Ivey Announces ‘Safer Apart’ Order as Mask Mandate Ends

Alabama is set to transition to a “Safer Apart” order until 5 p.m. on May 5, replacing the statewide mask order that’s been in place since last July.

“We are still under a public health order, but it is greatly slimmed down due to everyone doing their part to practice social distancing, wearing a mask and getting a vaccine,” Ivey said at a press conference Wednesday.

Ivey’s “Safer Apart” order is the third phase of Alabama’s COVID-19 pandemic health order.

The announcement comes days before the statewide mask mandate comes to an end this Friday. Last month, Ivey announced she would not renew the mask order. However, both Gov. Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris urged residents to continue wearing masks and social distancing once the mandate expires. Read more.

New COVID Cases in Alabama Down by 93% Since January Peak

The average of new COVID-19 cases per day is now less than a tenth of the peak levels recorded in January.

In BirminghamWatch’s periodic analysis of COVID data, the 7-day average of new cases reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health is down to 294.86 per day. That is a drop of 93% from the record set almost three months ago, and it’s the first time the average has dropped below 300 since May 19.

The 14-day average also has decreased, but the death toll has increased in the past week. The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients also has continued its decline in the past week. Read more.

COVID-19 Rates Continue to Drop in Alabama

Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers continue to show a dramatic improvement, with the numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and positive tests falling to levels that have not been seen for months.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 196 new cases of the coronavirus in Tuesday’s daily update. The state has averaged 305 cases a day over the past week, down from averages of 456 a week ago and 659 a month ago. It was the lowest 7-day average since a report of 292 last May 19.

For the past three days, the state has averaged 166 cases per day.
Read more.

Birmingham Council, Schools Extend Mask Requirements

Masks will remain mandatory in Birmingham through May 24. The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to extend the city’s face covering ordinance, requiring masks in all public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Exceptions are made for outdoor exercise and eating or drinking at restaurants or bars. Religious worship services are also exempt, though the ordinance still “strongly encourages” masks in those settings.

The Birmingham City School Schools system also announced Tuesday that masks will be required in schools and all school-related events through the end of the school year to combat the threat from COVID-19.

The city ordinance received the support of Mayor Randall Woodfin and most of the council, with the exception of District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams. Williams argued that the ordinance would make Birmingham an outlier in Jefferson County and the state of Alabama as a whole, placing “undue burden” on local businesses. The state’s mask ordinance is set to expire Friday, and Gov. Kay Ivey has said she will not renew it. Read more.

Ivey Expands COVID Vaccination Ages to 16 and Older

If you’re old enough to drive, you’re now old enough to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in Alabama. Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that beginning Monday, anyone aged 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine.

“Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us” she said. Read more.