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First death of an Alabamian linked to COVID-19 announced Wednesday night

A Jackson County resident was the first person in Alabama to die after testing positive for COVID-19, state and county officials said Wednesday night. 

A release from the Alabama Department of Public Health said that the person had underlying health problems and died in a facility outside the state. 

The release didn't say whether the patient was male or female, or their age, the underlying condition or when they were diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The release did confirm that the patient was a Jackson County resident. 

In a letter released by the Jackson County Commission on Facebook Wednesday, commission Chairman Tim Guffey identified the patient as a part-time employee of the county courthouse in a position that didn't require regular contact with the public. None of the patient's co-workers have shown any symptoms of the coronavirus, Guffey wrote. The courthouse remains closed until April 6, Guffey wrote. 

Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement Wednesday evening that she continued "to urge everyone that this virus is real, it is deadly, and we should continue to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

"Together, we will overcome these challenges and difficult days." 

The ADPH release encouraged state residents to wash their hands, stay home when sick and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.