Officials express concern: Alabama virus cases top 30,000


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama on Monday surpassed 30,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a milestone that came as health officials expressed concern about a recent surge in cases.

As of Monday, Alabama had 30,031 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, with more than a quarter of the cases reported in the past two weeks. More than 830 people in the state have died, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Alabama health officials have announced they plan to put color-coded rankings on the spread of COVID-19 in counties. The map, which will list counties as red, yellow or green is not yet available on the state dashboard, but is expected to be unveiled in coming days, State Health Officer Scott Harris said Monday.

Harris said that the display is meant to give people and local officials information in a form that is "easy to see."

He said the department will eventually offer guidance based on the rankings, but the state will not issue mandated closures based on it.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signaled a reluctance to revisit closure orders but has made a plea for people to practice personal responsibility in combating the virus.

"As much as we want everything to get back to normal, we can't forget COVID-19 is still a threat. Folks, I cannot emphasize enough that we must all practice social responsibility, if we plan on moving our state forward," Ivey said last week.

The Alabama prison system on Monday announced that two additional inmates tested positive for COVID-19. A dormitory at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio was quarantined after the two new positive tests.

A total of 50 inmates and 145 staff members and contract workers have so far tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections reported.

The prison system said 32 of the inmates remain ill. The prison system said 51 previously ill or positive staff members have returned to work.

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.