More than 6,700 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in Alabama by Tuesday, and at least 242 people in the state have died after testing positive for the coronavirus that causes the disease, officials reported, including patients from Calhoun, Cleburne and Talladega counties.
At least 927 people have been hospitalized in Alabama since mid-March with the illness caused by the new coronavirus, according to the state’s Public Health Department. Seven patients confirmed to have the disease were being treated as of Sunday at Anniston’s Regional Medical Center, according to the hospital, down from eight, though more have been in RMC’s COVID-19 units awaiting test results. On Tuesday, a patient who’d been on a ventilator at RMC for 15 days and recovered went home, prompting a celebration.
Of the 242 people in Alabama known to have died after testing positive for COVID-19, Public Health says, three were from Calhoun County, along with two from Talladega County and one from Cleburne County.
The Public Health Department’s count of positive tests for the virus by Tuesday had risen to 6,750 The total in Calhoun County was 92 known cases, 70 in St. Clair County and 59 in Talladega County. Cleburne County’s total was 12.
No information on patients who’ve recovered has been reported by Public Health so far. An RMC physician on Thursday said the Anniston hospital had sent four patients home after recovering from the disease.
The known cases statewide come from at least 74,162 tests, the Public Health Department reported.
Gov. Kay Ivey, in an attempt to slow the disease's spread in Alabama, earlier this month ordered residents to stay at home beginning 5 p.m. the next day, through April 30, with exceptions for "essential activities."
On Tuesday, Ivey announced the order would be replaced when it expires with a less-restrictive version that still limits restaurants to take-out and delivery service and limits gatherings of 10 or more people outside of work. Most retail shops will be permitted to open, though they can allow in only half their normal capacity of customers, among other changes. At a news conference announcing the changes, the governor expressed a desire to revive the state’s economy.
“I’ve always known that if the government kills a business, Washington can’t print enough money to bring it back to life,” Ivey said.
Much of the state, nation and world has struggled under drastic action to halt the spread of the new coronavirus and the illness it causes. Layoffs and other losses have hit workers in many industries, as people heed warnings to remain at home as much as possible. More than 276,000 Alabama workers have filed unemployment claims since the state’s first cases of the disease were reported, according to the state Labor Department.