Continuing coverage of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its effects in Northeast Alabama. No subscription is required to read these stories. To support local journalism in your community, sign up at annistonstar.com/subscribe.

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New cases of COVID-19 have been on the decline in the last week, numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health show, and so has the number of coronavirus patients in hospital beds.

Alabama's unemployment rate decreased to 3.9 percent in the last month of 2020 after hitting a decades-high of nearly 13 percent earlier in the year shocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

New cases of COVID-19 have been on the decline in the last week, numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health show, and so has the number of coronavirus patients in hospital beds.

Alabama's unemployment rate decreased to 3.9 percent in the last month of 2020 after hitting a decades-high of nearly 13 percent earlier in the year shocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, this week pre-filed legislation to give businesses and other groups liability protection from civil lawsuits related to COVID-19, and is expected to be a priority when Alabama lawmakers convene their 2021 session next month.

Alabama employers who pay into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund could see a tax increase of about 91 percent this year, despite efforts in recent months to shore up the fund with hundreds of millions of dollars in CARES Act money.

Residents and first responders who received their first of two COVID vaccinations on Dec. 31 will receive their second shot at a different location that will be announced and that location will be posted to the Cleburne County EMA’s Facebook page.

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