Layne Bjornseth, left, and her boyfriend, Ben Glover touch up a mural with chalk off Southampton Court in Decatur, Ala. Bjornseth’s inspiration for the artwork is to share a message of hope and encouragement during the coronavirus pandemic. (Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily via AP)
By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
Alabama on Monday reported a significant jump in the number of COVID-19 patients, reaching more than 2,000 confirmed cases and more than 53 reported deaths.
The number of infections in Alabama rose by several hundred as results continued to be reported around the state.
The Alabama Department of Public Health Department said Monday that the state had more than 2,000 positive tests for the virus and 53 reported deaths in COVID-19 patients. The state was at 1,000 cases five days ago and doubled its number of reported cases in less than a week.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced a “stay-at-home” order by the state health officer that took effect Saturday.
Ivey said she felt compelled to require people across Alabama to shelter at home as cases of the new virus continued to rise and too many people ignored calls to isolate voluntarily. The emergency order allows people to leave home for medicine, health care, food, work and to obtain other essentials.
An east Alabama hospital, serving one of the state’s outbreak areas, pleaded with people to stay home. East Alabama Medical Center urged people to practice social distancing guidelines, which included staying away from others outside their household. Lee and Chambers counties rank fifth and sixth out of Alabama’s 67 counties for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
The hospital said that __ “unfortunately” __ “not much has changed in our community since (the state order) went into effect on Saturday.
“Children are still playing together, people are still congregating in public places, and stores are packed with people,” the hospital said in a Monday update.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.
A federal judge on Monday held an evidentiary hearing on a request to prevent Alabama from blocking abortion access as the state restricts elective medical procedures to conserve hospital beds and equipment during the pandemic. Abortion clinics requested an injunction after they said the state refused to clarify that they could remain open.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson earlier issued a temporary restraining order to prevent clinics from being closed while he hears arguments in the case.
An obstetrician who serves as the medical director for a north Alabama abortion clinic testified that complications of abortion are rare, and that childbirth and pregnancy are typically riskier to women.
“The risk of complication of an abortion is less than 1 percent,” Dr. Yashica Robinson testified during the hearing.
Thompson did not rule Monday in the injunction request.
Alabama nursing homes on Monday expressed concern about access to, and the speed of, testing for COVID-19. The Alabama Nursing Home Association said 31 of the state’s more than 200 nursing homes have reported a case of COVID-19 in either a patient, employee or both.