COVID-19

This a running update compiled by the Dothan Eagle concerning news and advisories related to the coronavirus focusing on the local, state, regional and national level.

Update: Saturday, March 21, 6:30 p.m.

Alabama confirmed cases increase to 131; Daycare restrictions revised

MONTGOMERY — Alabama's total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increased to 131  when an update was released Saturday evening, according to the county breakdown from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Jefferson County still leads all counties in reported cases. Here is a ADPH county breakdown: Baldwin (2), Calhoun (1), Chambers (1), Cullman (2), Elmore (6), Jackson (1), Jefferson (61), Lamar (1), Lauderdale (2), Lee (12), Limestone (1), Madison (9), Marion (1), Mobile (2), Montgomery (3), Shelby (16), St. Clair (1), Talladega (1), Tuscaloosa (6), Walker (1) and Washington (1).

Although the first confirmed case in the Wiregrass was reported in Dothan by Southeast Health and ADPH on Wednesday, Houston County is not listed in the ADPH’s county breakdown. The update still shows no positive tests reported in the Wiregrass area. Houston County's confirmed case is an out-of-state resident, and ADPH does not lists positive tests that do not originate in the county.

On Saturday,state health officials also backed off a prior order that would have closed child daycare facilities statewide.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said child care facilities will be allowed to open, but must keep the number of children in any room or other enclosed space below 12.

The change followed an order Thursday that prohibited gatherings of 25 people or more and mandated closing child daycare centers, preschools, schools and senior citizen centers. Dining in restaurants and bars also was prohibited, with only takeout ordering allowed.

Health officials said the goal of slowing disease transmission is to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday clarified that limits on public gatherings did not apply to work and workplace events.

Nearly half the cases are in Birmingham and surrounding Jefferson County. No deaths linked to the new virus have been reported in Alabama.

Ivey on Saturday urged small businesses hurt by the virus outbreak to apply for disaster loans through the federal Small Business Administration. The low-interest loans offer up to $2 million to help qualifying small businesses pay bills and cover their payrolls.

Find more coverage at: https://www.dothaneagle.com/coronavirus

Update: Saturday, March 21, 10:55 a.m.

Alabama confirmed cases now at 124

MONTGOMERY — Alabama's total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increased to 124  just before 11 a.m. Saturday, according to the county breakdown from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Jefferson County still leads all counties in reported cases. Here is a ADPH county breakdown: Baldwin (2), Calhoun (1), Chambers (1), Cullman (2), Elmore (6), Jackson (1), Jefferson (60), Lamar (1), Lauderdale (1), Lee (12), Limestone (1), Madison (6), Marion (1), Mobile (2), Montgomery (3), Shelby (16), St. Clair (1), Talladega (1), Tuscaloosa (4), Walker (1) and Washington (1).

Although the first confirmed case in the Wiregrass was reported in Dothan by Southeast Health and ADPH on Wednesday, Houston County is not listed in the ADPH’s county breakdown. The update still shows no positive tests reported in the Wiregrass area. Houston County's confirmed case is an out-of-state resident, and ADPH does not lists positive tests that do not originate in the county.

Find more coverage at: https://www.dothaneagle.com/coronavirus

Update: Saturday, March 21, 10:30 a.m.

Florida travel rumor is false

Florida officials are working to stop a rumor that the state has closed its borders to non-residents.

Although Florida beaches have been closed as a precautionary measure related to the coronavirus, travelers can enter the state.

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office said in an email to the media that it’s aware of a rumor circulating on social media that claims the state’s borders have been closed, but this rumor is false.

“There are no law enforcement agencies of any kind stopping motorists at the state line and refusing their passage,” the email from the sheriff’s office states. “Please be assured that we will keep you informed of any unusual enforcement activity, if any, that may arise during these unprecedented times.”

Update: Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m.

Alabama now reports 106 positive COVID-19 cases

MONTGOMERY — Alabama's total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases remained at 106 as of Saturday morning, according to the county breakdown posted on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Jefferson County still leads all counties in reported cases. Here is a county breakdown from ADPH: Baldwin (2), Calhoun (1), Chambers (1), Cullman (1), Elmore (6), Jackson (1), Jefferson (50), Lamar (1), Lauderdale (1), Lee (11), Limestone (1), Madison (7), Mobile (2), Montgomery (3), Shelby (10), St. Clair (1), Talladega (1), Tuscaloosa (4), Walker (1) and Washington (1).

Although the first confirmed case in the Wiregrass was reported in Dothan by Southeast Health and ADPH on Wednesday, Houston County is not listed in the ADPH’s county breakdown. The update still shows no positive tests reported in the Wiregrass area. Houston County's confirmed case is an out-of-state resident, and ADPH does not lists positive tests that do not originate in the county.

Alabama reported additional cases of the new coronavirus Friday as another state vehicle factory prepared to shut down and the governor's office clarified rules meant to limit contact between people.

Almost half the cases are around Birmingham in heavily populated Jefferson County. Only one case has been reported in Mobile County, where more than 400,000 people live, and officials are trying to get more tests there.

Mercedes-Benz announced its factory in Tuscaloosa County and another in South Carolina would suspend production beginning Monday. Some 3,800 people work at the German automaker's plant and thousands work for surrounding suppliers.

Honda previously said it would temporarily close its assembly plant in Talladega County, and Hyundai shuttered its factory south of Montgomery after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

Following confusion over an order aimed at limiting large gatherings of people, Gov. Kay Ivey said a rule prohibiting groups of 25 people or more applied only to events not related to work.

“I fully support the restrictions of social or recreational gatherings of 25 people or less and strongly encourage individuals to maintain a 6-foot distance. However, this order was intended to apply to non-work-related gatherings,” she said in a statement.

The confusion stemmed from an order Thursday that also required all child day care centers, preschools, schools and senior citizen centers to close. Dining in restaurants and bars also was prohibited, with only takeout ordering allowed.

With more people out of work, utilities including Alabama Power Co., the state's largest supplier of electricity, have announced they would suspend service disconnections for customers who can't pay bills, and Alabama-based Regions Bank said it would waive numerous fees and penalties during the crunch.

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