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COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama

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COVID-19 pandemic in Alabama
COVID-19 rolling 14day Prevalence in Alabama by county.svg
Map of the outbreak in Alabama by confirmed new infections per 100,000 people (14 days preceding March 7)
  No confirmed new cases or no/bad data
COVID-19 Prevalence in Alabama by county.svg
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationAlabama, U.S.
First caseMontgomery County
Arrival dateMarch 13, 2020
Confirmed cases58,225[1]
Suspected cases842
1,183 (confirmed)
28 (probable)
Official website
Alabama Department of Public Health
Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached the U.S. state of Alabama in March 2020. As of July 15, 2020, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADHP) reported 58,225 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,183 confirmed deaths.[2]

Early 2020 preparations[edit source | edit]

On January 22, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) asked healthcare providers to conduct screening of patients seeking care for influenza-like illnesses with travel to Wuhan, China, and said the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) continues to believe the risk of 2019-nCoV to the American public at large remains low at this time."[3]

On February 4, the Alabama Department of Public Health asked travelers to mainland China who returned to the United States on or after January 22, 2020 to contact the Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks Division as soon as they arrive in Alabama.[4] On the same day, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey delivered the "State of the State" address, with no mention of COVID-19.[5][6]

On February 21, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that an Anniston facility would be used as a COVID-19 quarantine center; those plans were cancelled two days later.[7][8]

On February 28, the Alabama Department of Public Health recommended indivi

duals protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting a flu shot and "other normal precautions".[9]

On March 2, the Alabama Department of Public Health advised individuals to "wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when you are ill, and practice social distancing strategies". ADPH also asked universities and colleges to implement plans to mitigate the spread of disease on their campuses.[10] On March 5, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced state laboratory capability of COVID-19 testing and criteria for testing eligibility.[11] March 6 saw the formation of the Alabama Coronavirus task force.[12] Governor Ivey said: "There's no need to panic or close huge events right now." She asked Alabamans to wash hands, cover coughs, and fist bump instead of shaking hands.[13]

Timeline of outbreak[edit source | edit]

March 2020[edit source | edit]

March 12–16[edit source | edit]

On March 13, Alabama announced its first known cases of coronavirus in a person who had recently traveled from Illinois, and by the end of the day the state reported six cases total.[14][15][16] That same day, Governor Ivey declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus, and announced that all schools would be closed from March 18 until April 6.[17][18]

On March 15, Gov. Ivey authorized state agency directors to implement work from home and flexible work schedules.[19] On March 16, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced recommendations concerning public gatherings, food establishment and other retail venues, and businesses, including no gatherings of 50 or more person.[20]

March 18–20[edit source | edit]

On March 18, a statewide health order prohibited all non-work related gatherings of 25+ persons or any non-work related gatherings that cannot maintain consistent six-foot spacing between people.[21][22] Public and private beaches closed.[23] Alabama's Primary Runoff Election was postponed to July 14.[24]

On March 20, Gov. Ivey authorized up to 100 Alabama National Guard members to assist with response "if it becomes necessary".[25] The Alabama Department of Public Health refined guidance on public gatherings.[26] Auburn University announced postponement of its spring graduation ceremony and a move to fully online classes after spring break.[27]

March 22–25[edit source | edit]

On March 24, Birmingham issued a stay-at-home order (as a 24-hour curfew) effective through April 3.[28] The first death in the state was reported in Jackson County.[29] Tuscaloosa city mayor Walt Maddox issued a city-wide curfew, lasting from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. each day, effective March 27 to April 3.[30]

March 26–27[edit source | edit]

At a March 26 press conference, Ivey said she would not issue a shelter-in-place order, saying "... we are not Louisiana, we are not New York state, we are not California ... right now is not the time to order people to shelter in place."[31] Tuscaloosa extended its city-wide curfew to 24 hours, beginning March 29 at 10:00 p.m., set to last an additional week. The Tuscaloosa stay-at-home order (the second in the state) came after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall's opinion published on the same day that provided cities and counties with more authority to combat the pandemic.[32]

On March 27, all "non-essential businesses" in the state were ordered to be closed until April 17, including barbershops, furniture stores, gyms, casinos, theaters, arcades, night clubs, salons and spas. ABC stores would remain open. Governor Ivey again refused to issue a state-wide shelter-in-place order, saying "I have the responsibility to look statewide and in this case, one size does not fit all" and that she has to "keep an eye on the economy"; she added that she would not object to county and city-level containment efforts.[33] Montgomery mayor Steven Reed enacted an indefinite, 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew beginning on March 27.[34]

The Alabama Department of Labor reported that 59,783 people filed for unemployment from March 22 to March 26, a five-fold growth over the previous week.[35]

Archbishop Thomas John Rodi of the Archdiocese of Mobile and Bishop Robert Joseph Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham continued the suspension of public Mass in Alabama through April 18, meaning no Easter Sunday Mass on April 12, in what Rodi called a "painful decision". Baker and Rodi initially issued the suspension of public Mass on March 17.[36]

March 28–29[edit source | edit]

By March 28, the virus was confirmed in at least six nursing homes in the state.[37] Governor Ivey announced on the 28th that Apple donated 63,000 N95 masks for Alabama healthcare providers.[38]

Residents in the Opelika area were holding a "Park and Pray" service twice daily in support of the hospital staff at the East Alabama Medical Center, at the time the only hospital reporting COVID-19 deaths.[39][40]

April 2020[edit source | edit]

April 1–2[edit source | edit]

Alabama was projected by models on April 2 to have the fourth-highest rate of COVID-19 fatalities in the nation.[41] In response, Ivey ordered a fifth Supplemental State of Emergency (the third was on March 23 and the fourth was on March 27) to reduce red tape for healthcare providers, including allowing certified registered nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, and anesthesia assistants to practice in a licensed health care facility. She also ordered the state board to adopt emergency rules to allow expedited reinstatement of medical licenses; moved to expand the capacity of health care facilities, and moved to allow local jails to release probation or parole violators who have been in custody for more than 20 days without a hearing.[42]

It was reported that every day since March 23, the ADPH was sharing a list of addresses of confirmed COVID-19 patients with the Alabama 911 Board to disseminate to local 911 response districts, reportedly to protect first responders from becoming infected—a possible breach of patient confidentiality law. Massachusetts was the only other state known to be doing this at the time. The 911 Board said the policy was implemented after numerous state agencies expressed concerns about protecting first responders.[43]

April 3–4[edit source | edit]

On April 3, Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home order until April 30.[44] Mobile followed suit with an order effective until April 30.[45]

Montgomery County authorities reported that they received 5,880 surgical masks from the Strategic National Stockpile with a 2010 expiration date; the masks reportedly had dry rot and were useless.[46]

April 18–19[edit source | edit]

By the morning of April 18, according to the ADPH, there were 146 reported deaths, 113 confirmed deaths, more than 4,600 confirmed cases, with 42,500 people tested.[47] On April 19, the National Guard did its first nursing home disinfect and decontamination process for COVID-19.[48]

June 2020[edit source | edit]

In early June the Alabama Department of Public Health dashboard under-reported new cases. On June 4th, they claimed, "the national surveillance pipeline is becoming overwhelmed," by a large increase in test results. On June 6th, they claimed, "As a result of a reporting backlog, this dashboard appears to display sizeable increases in all numbers." [49] In late May, the caseload had been growing at an average of 3% per day. The cases posted on June 7th did not make up the difference unless there had been a decline in growth as state businesses opened in May.

At least five University of Alabama football players tested positive for COVID-19.[50]

On June 16, 2020, the city council of Montgomery controversially voted 4-4 on an ordinance to require that masks be worn in public gatherings of 25 people or more. The next day, by the advice of health officials, Mayor Steven Reed overruled the tie vote and enacted the mandate via executive order.[51]

By June 24, 2020, there were 31,624 cases and 879 deaths.

July 2020[edit source | edit]

On July 15, Governor Ivey announced that face masks would be mandatory state-wide in public spaces when within six feet of a person from another household, beginning July 16 at 5:00 p.m. local time. This is an amendment to the Safer at Home order.[52]

Impact on sports[edit source | edit]

On March 12, the National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled all winter and spring tournaments, most notably the Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, affecting colleges and universities statewide.[53] On March 16, the National Junior College Athletic Association also canceled the remainder of the winter seasons as well as the spring seasons.[54]

The 2021 World Games in Birmingham, originally scheduled for July 15–25, 2021, was postponed to July 7–17, 2022.[55]

Alabama Crimson Tide football head coach Nick Saban and his Nick's Kids Foundation donated to food banks, contributed to the 211 program, provided meals to DCH Regional Medical Center workers, and filmed PSAs.[56]

The debut of the Minor League Baseball team, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, was scheduled for April 9, 2020, but was postponed indefinitely.[57]

Impact on events[edit source | edit]

On March 22, Mobicon, an annual fan convention held in Mobile announced that the 2020 iteration of the convention scheduled for the last weekend of May had been postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.[citation needed]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

Demographics[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)".
  2. "Alabama COVID19 Information Hub". covid19.alabama.gov. Alabama Department of Public Health Division of Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  3. "ADPH joins with CDC and other state health departments to prevent the spread of new coronavirus | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  4. "ADPH initiates monitoring activities for travelers from mainland China for 2019-nCoV | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  5. "Governor Ivey Delivers 2020 State of the State Address". Alabama News. February 5, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  6. Ivey, Kay (February 4, 2020). 2020 State of the State Address (PDF) (Speech). Alabama State Capitol. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. "Governor Kay Ivey: President Trump cancels plans for cruise ship coronavirus quarantine in Alabama". WKRG News 5. February 23, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  8. Staff, WBRC. "Anniston city leaders blindsided by plan to use local FEMA facility as part of Coronavirus quarantine". WAFF. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. "ADPH recommends flu shot and other normal precautions amid COVID-19 outbreak | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  10. "Alabama is prepared for COVID-19; supports CDC recommendations for returning travelers | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  11. "ADPH state laboratory now tests for novel coronavirus COVID-19 | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  12. WTOK. "Ivey establishes Coronavirus Task Force". www.wtok.com. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  13. "'There's no need to panic:' Gov. Kay Ivey urges coronavirus calm for Alabamians". WAAY News. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  14. Thusius, Ashley (March 13, 2020). "Alabama's first coronavirus case confirmed in Montgomery County". Waaytv.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  15. "Alabama identifies first 2 cases of coronavirus COVID-19 | WBMA". Abc3340.com. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  16. https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/politics/state/story/2020/mar/14/alabama-declares-emergency-closes-schools-first-cases-coronavirus-found/518178/
  17. "State of emergency declared in Alabama, 1 coronavirus case confirmed in Jefferson County". WDHN - DothanFirst.com. March 13, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  18. Live updates: K–12 schools to close; six coronavirus cases in Alabama AL.com
  19. Ivey, Governor Kay (March 15, 2020). "Effective on Monday, March 16, I will be authorizing agency directors to implement telework, flexible work schedules, and practice social distancing for the next three weeks. #alpolitics #COVID19". @GovernorKayIvey. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  20. "ADPH offers new recommendations regarding public gatherings in response to COVID-19 | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  21. Staff, WBRC. "Governor Ivey, ADPH issue statewide health order". www.wbrc.com. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  22. WSFA Staff. "Alabama coronavirus cases climb to 39; Closures ordered in some counties". WSFA. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  23. "Ivey closes all Alabama beaches both public and private because of coronavirus". al. March 19, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  24. "Governor Ivey Announces New Primary Runoff Election Date". Office of the Governor of Alabama. March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  25. Helean, Jack (March 20, 2020). "Governor Ivey authorizes National Guard to help with COVID-19 operations if necessary". WBMA. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  26. "State Health Officer issues amended health order suspending public gatherings | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)". Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  27. "Auburn University postpones spring graduation ceremony, resuming online-only classes after break". CBS 42. March 20, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  28. "City of Birmingham under Shelter in Place in order". WBRC. March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  29. "Alabama reports first coronavirus death as cases near 400-date=2020-03-26".
  30. "Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox issues curfew for city". WBRC. March 25, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  31. "Coronavirus: Ivey says 'right now is not the time' for Alabama-wide shelter-in-place order". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  32. "Maddox extends Tuscaloosa's curfew to 24 hours, citing 'rapidly developing situation'". AL.com. March 26, 2020.
  33. "All 'non-essential businesses' closed statewide until April 17; Ivey doesn't issue shelter-in-place". AL.com. March 27, 2020.
  34. "Montgomery mayor enacts indefinite, seven-hour curfew starting 10 p.m. tonight". AL.com. March 27, 2020.
  35. "Alabama unemployment claims surge to 60,000 this week as coronavirus creates economic havoc". AL.com. March 27, 2020.
  36. "Bishops call off public Mass for Easter in Alabama". AL.com. March 27, 2020.
  37. "Coronavirus confirmed in six Alabama nursing homes". AL.com. March 28, 2020. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  38. "Coronavirus supplies: Apple donates 63,000 N-95 masks to Alabama". AL.com. March 28, 2020. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  39. "Community holds 'Park and Pray' twice daily at East Alabama Medical Center — 'God is in this'". Yellowhammer News. March 29, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  40. "Death toll from coronavirus rises in Auburn area, Alabama now has at least 10 deaths". AL.com. March 29, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  41. "Alabama projected to have the fourth-highest rate of COVID-19 fatalities in nation". ABC 3340. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  42. "Gov. Ivey issues Supplemental State of Emergency to cut red tape for healthcare providers". ABC 3340. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  43. "Alabama sharing addresses of coronavirus patients with 911 responders". AL.com. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  44. Gore, Leada (April 3, 2020). "Stay-at-home order issued for Alabama: What you can and can't do". al.com. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  45. Acosta, Leslie (April 3, 2020). "Mayor Stimpson announces stay-at-home order for Mobile". WEAR-TV. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  46. Alabama county received 5,000 rotted masks from national stockpile BY KAELAN DEESE, The Hill, 3 Apr 2020
  47. "113 confirmed deaths, over 4,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama". WSFA. April 18, 2020.
  48. Ashley Bowerman. "Alabama National Guard conducts first nursing home COVID-19 decontamination mission". WSFA12news. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  49. "Alabama's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard". Alabama's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. Alabama Department of Public Health. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  50. Martin, Tyler (June 4, 2020). "Multiple Alabama Football Players Test Positive for COVID-19". si.com. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  51. "Montgomery ordinance to mandate masks fails". WKRG News 5. June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  52. "Alabama governor announces statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to climb". WVTM. July 15, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  53. NCAA cancels remaining winter and spring championships NCAA, March 12, 2020
  54. NJCAA cancels spring sports, basketball nationals amid coronavirus outbreak MLive.com, March 16, 2020
  55. "World Games in Birmingham rescheduled to July 2022". ABC 3340. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  56. "How Nick Saban views his role helping during coronavirus crisis". AL.com. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  57. Gattis, Paul (March 12, 2020). "Trash Pandas debut delayed by coronavirus concerns". al.

External links[edit source | edit]