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Health and city officials discuss coronavirus

Montgomery Advertiser

Check here for breaking local and statewide updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

First Alabama coronavirus case confirmed and it’s in Montgomery area

Alabama health officials have confirmed the state’s first official COVID-19 case, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday. The city of Montgomery released a brief statement over social media, stating the case was confirmed in Montgomery County in a patient who had traveled out of state and came in contact with the virus. 

STORY HERE: First case confirmed in Montgomery area

Montgomery cancels all city-sponsored events

All city sponsored events, including the half marathon and rodeo, are cancelled effective immediately. City buildings may be limited in terms of access. Contact with city administration and the public should be limited. Access to essential city services will not be limited. The city asks people stay inside and encourages institutions and companies cancel events. Montgomery County offices will remain open.

Alabama superintendent Eric Mackey wants all districts to cancel events

State superintendent Eric Mackey announced on Friday that he has advised all districts to cancel any events that would bring a large number of students together. That includes school assemblies and student plays, he said. He did not directly address sporting events. Additionally, all professional development conferences for teachers and administrators will be cancelled through March and April. 

More: What’s closed and how Montgomery and the River Region are prepping, reacting

Autauga schools will close early March 19

The Autauga County Schools will close for students a half-day on Thursday, March 19. The schools will release students at noon, said Superintendent Spence Agee. Faculty and staff will remain that afternoon for training, he said. Regular schedules for the schools will return Friday March 20, he said. 

Autauga jail limits access

The Autauga County Sheriff’s is suspending visitation at the Autauga Metro Jail until further notice. Outside Bible studies are also suspended as part plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Access to the administrative offices will also will be limited. People posting bond can still come to the administrative office. 

Alabama training more lab scientists

The Alabama Department of Public Health is “quickly training” two additional microbiologists to join its state lab testing for coronavirus COVID-19 cases.

STORY HERE: State ‘quickly training’ more lab scientists to help with testing

Healthcare providers

Baptist Health has restricted visitors at all their locations including Medical Center East, Center South and Prattville Baptist Hospital. Anyone exhibiting any flu-like signs or symptoms, has traveled internationall to areas outline by the CDC as COVID-19 impacted areas, has spent time with somene who has traveled internationally and is symptomatic, or has been exposed to COVID-19 or someone diagnosed with COVID-19 are restricted from the facilities. 

Jackson Hospital in Montgomery has temporarily banned visits by children and people who have cold-like symptoms amid an international coronavirus outbreak. Those with a fever, cough or respiratory symptoms are not allowed as visitors. Anyone showing symptoms is being asked to call ahead and then enter through the Emergency Department entrance for treatment. No one younger than 12 is being allowed into the hospital as a visitor.

Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country are screening patients and restricting visitors to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus as the agency grapples with five cases of COVID-19. In addition, visitors will be limited at the agency’s 135 nursing homes, which house more than 8,000 veterans.

Schools

  • Montgomery Public Schools’ custodial staffs are taking heightened steps to ensure schools are thoroughly cleaned each day. In addition, each school is working to ensure that tissues, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are available for classrooms. Also, the district is ordering students and staff who have visited China or other areas with active transmission of Coronavirus to avoid returning to school for 14 days.  All sporting events have been canceled until further notice. 
  • Alabama State University announced Thursday in-person classes will cease through the end of the spring semester amid concerns of COVID-19. Additionally the university  “will communicate with all students about plans for returning to campus to retrieve personal belongings from the residence halls.” Additionally, all sporting events and practice are suspended and all on-campus events are cancelled as of Monday, March 16.
  • Auburn University will transition from on-campus instruction to online classes beginning March 16 in responses to concerns about the spread of coronavirus and is asking that students “refrain from returning to campus after spring break,” which concludes Friday. The university will continue normal operations, but is asking departments to utilize remote work and “social distancing” whenever possible. Auburn faculty will contact students on steps they should take to continue their academic coursework, according to a release.
  • Auburn Montgomery will transition from on-campus instruction to online classes beginning March 16. “We believe this decision is necessary to safeguard students, faculty and staff. ‘Social distancing’ is considered a critical step in limiting exposure to COVID-19,” the school said in a tweet. “AUM students may choose to go home during spring break and continue studies online from there through April 10. However, (housing” will remain open and no student will be required to leave.”
  • Huntingdon College will have a two-week spring break now, beginning Monday, March 16. “This two-week break will give college officials the best opportunity to determine how we will finish the spring semester,” the college posted on its website. 
  • Troy University announced Thursday that in-person classes on the university’s four campuses will cease through April 6. After spring break, classes will occur through alternative delivery methods. “Students are encouraged to stay home, but residence halls will remain open for students who need housing. All campuses will remain open, and faculty and staff will continue normal operations. Campus services, including dining, will also operate as normal,” the school reports. 

Closings and changes around the Montgomery Area

  • Montgomery Performing Arts Center has postponed all shows indefinitely. MPAC will try to reschedule all events, and for any that are canceled all tickets will be refunded at the point-of-purchase. 
  • AHSAA has postponed the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Banquet from March 16 to June 22. 
  • The Alabama Business Technology Conference scheduled April 22-24 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Convention Center has been cancelled.
  • The inaugural Beer Ballot was scheduled for March 28, with plans to showcase more than two dozen Alabama and regional breweries alongside local food vendors is being rescheduled for later this year.
  • One Place Family Justice Center cancelled the “Embrace Your Voice” fundraiser March 27 and “Take Back the Night” April 3.
  • The SLE Rodeo, originally scheduled for March 19-21, will not take place at that time, though no new date has been scheduled. 
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery has closed and will remain closed through the end of March.
  • The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has cancelled parole hearings scheduled for March 17-19. No date was given as to when they will be rescheduled. 

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