This a running update compiled by the Opelika-Auburn News concerning news and advisories related to the coronavirus locally, nationally and worldwide.

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EAMC update

Update: Friday, April 3, 5:52 p.m.

There are 52 patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) with either confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19, the hospital said Friday.

There are 32 patients hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 and 20 patients hospitalized that are suspected of having the virus, EAMC said.

Nineteen patients previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged and there are six patients hospitalized who were previously suspected of COVID-19 but have since tested negative, EAMC added.

Stay-at-home order

Update: Friday, April 3, 4:02 p.m. 

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that all Alabamians will be under a stay-at-home order beginning tomorrow at 5 p.m.

“We are past urging people to stay at home, it is now a law," Ivey said.

The order will expire April 30 at 5 p.m.

Ivey also noted that the order may help give residents football in the fall. 

“If you’re eager for fall football season coming up, well, what we’re doing today gives us a better chance to be able to do that as well," she said. 

There are limited exceptions to the order. Residents may continue to do essential activities outlined by the order as follows: 

  • Obtain necessary supplies
    • Food and other consumer goods necessary to maintain a person's daily routine or to maintain the safety, sanitation and routine operation of a home or residence
    • Supplies needed to work from home
    • Pharmaceutical prescriptions or other medical supplies
    • Fuel for automobiles or other vehicles or other vehicle supplies
    • Materials for distance learning or other education-related purposes
    • Any other supplies necessary to maintain a person's or pet's daily routine or two maintain the safety, sanitation and routine operation of a home or residence
  • Obtain or provide necessary services 
    • Dental, medical or surgical procedures allowed under paragraph 14 of this order
    • Government-funded services or benefits
    • Automobile repair services
    • Services vital to the treatment or care of people with physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or people with substance-use disorders
    • Services related to any public or private distance learning activities and education continuity, including all services under education continuity plans approved by the State Superintendent of Education
    • Any other services necessary to maintain a person's or pet's daily routine or two maintain the safety, sanitation and routine operation of a home or residence
  • To attend religious services. May attend a religious worship service, wedding or funeral in either of the following circumstances:
    • The event involved fewer than 10 people and the people maintain a consistent six-foot distance from one another
    • The event is a "drive-in" worship service that adheres to the following rules:
      • All participants must remain in their vehicles for the whole service
      • The participants in each vehicle all share the same place of residence
      • Participants do not come within six feet of participants in other vehicles. 
  • To take care of others
  • To work
  • To engage in outdoor activity
  • To seek shelter
  • To travel as required by law
  • To see family members

Hazardous waste day

Update: Friday, April 3, 3:35 p.m.

The city of Auburn postponed its Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day scheduled for tomorrow out of an abundance of caution.

“Since the event includes participants traveling from adjacent states to collect and process materials, the event will be rescheduled for a later date after the COVID-19 situation has subsided,” a release from the city reads. 

Those who were planning to drop off materials are asked to hold onto them until the next event.

Auburn PSA

Update: Friday, April 3, 2:23 p.m.

By Auburn University

Special to the O-A News

Auburn University coaches Gus Malzahn, Bruce Pearl and Butch Thompson want you to join the team in the ongoing fight against coronavirus. The head coaches of Auburn football, basketball and baseball have launched a public service announcement that calls for “teamwork” in keeping one another safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the world of athletics, we know all too well the importance of teamwork in order to achieve a greater good. It’s imperative to use the same approach in our fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene.

In their PSA, Malzahn, Pearl and Thompson promote that message of teamwork by asking all to wash their hands often for 20 seconds, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and continue to practice social distancing 

“We must all rally as one in the fight against this virus,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue.

The PSA is being released by the university throughout the state and beyond as a unifying message that, in addition to promoting good hygiene, asks the public to “stay home, stop the spread and save lives.”

Case update

Update: Friday, April 3, 1:45 p.m.

Chambers County hit 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 97 confirmed cases in Lee County, five in Macon County, four in Russell County and 18 in Tallapoosa County. 

There are 1,414 confirmed cases, 21 confirmed deaths and 34 reported deaths in Alabama, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases of the virus of any county in the state with 345 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 12
  • Baldwin – 26
  • Barbour - 1
  • Bibb - 4
  • Blount – 8
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 16
  • Chambers – 80
  • Cherokee – 4
  • Chilton – 15
  • Choctaw – 4
  • Clarke – 3
  • Clay – 8
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Coffee – 3
  • Colbert – 5
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 6
  • Covington - 4
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 14
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 4
  • DeKalb - 10
  • Elmore – 18
  • Escambia - 2
  • Etowah – 15
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 4
  • Greene – 5
  • Hale - 3
  • Houston – 11
  • Jackson – 12
  • Jefferson – 345
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 97
  • Limestone – 26
  • Lowndes – 2
  • Macon - 5
  • Madison – 119
  • Marengo - 7
  • Marion – 13
  • Marshall – 15
  • Mobile – 84
  • Monroe - 4
  • Montgomery – 52
  • Morgan – 23
  • Pickens – 9
  • Pike – 10
  • Randolph - 9
  • Russell – 4
  • Shelby – 104
  • St. Clair – 22
  • Sumter – 7
  • Talladega – 11
  • Tallapoosa – 18
  • Tuscaloosa – 41
  • Walker – 48
  • Washington – 4
  • Wilcox – 5
  • Winston - 3 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7

Beauregard employee

Update: Friday, April 3, 12:45 p.m.

Lee County Schools was informed today that an employee assigned to Beauregard High School tested positive for COVID-19 in a test administered earlier this week.

“The employee was advised by the Alabama Department of Public Health to notify everyone that the employee may have come in contact with over the last two weeks,” according to a Friday press release from the school district. “Because Lee County Schools were closed on March 13, the employee has not been in school and is not believed to have been in contact with students or staff within the two week period before the test was administered.

“However, to keep the public fully informed Lee County parents and students have been notified of this positive test.”

The press release goes on to urge anyone experiencing fever, cough, body aches or shortness of breath to call their doctor or urgent care facility.  Any Lee County parent, student, faculty or staff member who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, is requested to e-mail Lee County Schools at cen.webmaster@lee.k12.al.us with that information.

ANHA testing

Update: Friday, April 3, 11:07 a.m.

Delays in testing are putting the lives of Alabama nursing home residents and employees at risk, the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) said Friday in a statement.

“From listening to our members, we’ve become aware that there is an enormous volume of COVID-19 tests outstanding – at least more than 1,000,” ANHA President and CEO Brandon Farmer said in a statement. “Our members also report to us that they’re having difficulty even obtaining tests. The long delays in receiving tests and test results puts the lives of our residents and employees at risk.”

Nursing homes are listed at Priority 2 for COVID-19 testing according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Farmer said this classification must change.

“That must change. Our national organization, the American Health Care Association, has asked the CDC to elevate nursing homes to Priority 1,” Farmer said in a statement. “This makes sense because we care for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19."

Alabama nursing homes are doing everything they can to care for their residents and keep them healthy, Farmer said, adding that the government needs to step up.

“The government needs to provide the resources they need to keep up this fight for life,” he said.

Opelika Municipal Court

Update: Friday, April 3, 10:15 a.m.

The Opelika Municipal Court has issued an extension to an emergency order put out on March 13.

The order now remains in effect until April 30 or until the Supreme Court of Alabama further orders related to COVID-19, the city announced Friday.

The court will reschedule all non-jail hearing previously scheduled March 16 - April 30. Court employees will be mailing continuance letters, the city said.

Only inmates who have not made bond will appear in court on their regularly scheduled date during this order but will keep the number of people in court at a minimum.

For more information, call 334-705-5196.

Case update

Update: Friday, April 3, 7:36 a.m. 

There are more than 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chambers County as Lee County inches closer to 100 confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 74 confirmed cases in Chambers County and 96 in Lee County.

Chambers County is also reporting the fifth death of a county resident who tested positive for the virus, according to the health department.

The death has not been confirmed by ADPH as of 7:35 a.m. Friday.

A third case of the virus also was confirmed Friday morning in Russell County, according to ADPH.

There are 1,315 confirmed cases, 21 confirmed deaths and 34 reported deaths in Alabama, according to ADPH.

ADPH has confirmed four deaths in Chambers County, one in Etowah County, one in Jackson County, one in Lauderdale County, two in Lee County, one in Madison County, one in Marion County, four in Mobile County, one in Montgomery County, three in Shelby County, one in Tallapoosa County and one in Washington County.

A reported death accounts for those who died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. For the death to be added to the “died from illness” county, ADPH must review the person’s file and confirmed that the person died because of COVID-19.

The following counties are reporting deaths: 

  • Baldwin – 1
  • Chambers – 5
  • Cullman – 1
  • Etowah – 1
  • Houston – 1
  • Jackson – 1
  • Jefferson – 5
  • Lauderdale – 2
  • Lee – 3
  • Madison – 1
  • Marion – 2
  • Mobile – 5
  • Montgomery – 1
  • Shelby – 3
  • Tallapoosa – 1
  • Washington – 1

For more information visit, http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases of the virus of any county in the state with 332 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 12
  • Baldwin – 26
  • Bibb - 4
  • Blount – 7
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 12
  • Chambers – 74
  • Cherokee – 4
  • Chilton – 14
  • Choctaw – 4
  • Clarke – 2
  • Clay – 7
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Coffee – 3
  • Colbert – 5
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 6
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 4
  • DeKalb - 8
  • Elmore – 17
  • Escambia - 2
  • Etowah – 14
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 4
  • Greene – 5
  • Hale - 3
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 12
  • Jefferson – 332
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 96
  • Limestone – 26
  • Lowndes – 2
  • Macon - 4
  • Madison – 117
  • Marengo - 7
  • Marion – 11
  • Marshall – 8
  • Mobile – 71
  • Monroe - 3
  • Montgomery – 49
  • Morgan – 23
  • Pickens – 9
  • Pike – 7
  • Randolph - 7
  • Russell – 3
  • Shelby – 103
  • St. Clair – 20
  • Sumter – 7
  • Talladega – 8
  • Tallapoosa – 17
  • Tuscaloosa – 39
  • Walker – 36
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 5
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7

Food Bank to hold distribution 

Update: Thursday, April 2, 4:03 p.m. 

The Food Bank of East Alabama will be hosting a food distribution on Saturday at 2 p.m., the food bank announced on its Facebook.

The drive-through distribution will consist of perishable items, fruits and vegetables, for those in need in the community, the post said. 

The distribution will not require reservations and the distribution will be based on  first-come, first-serve. 

Attendants should not exit their vehicles, the post said. Questions can be directed to the food bank at 334-821-9006.

The food bank is located at 355 Industry Drive in Auburn.

Case update

Update: Thursday, April 2, 3:48 p.m.

Lee County has surpassed 90 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 91 confirmed cases in Lee County.

Chambers County also is nearing 70 confirmed cases. The county now has 67 confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

There are 1,233 confirmed cases in Alabama.

The third case of the virus was also confirmed in Macon County Thursday. There are two confirmed cases in Russell County and 17 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 314 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 10
  • Baldwin – 24
  • Bibb - 4
  • Blount – 6
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 12
  • Chambers – 67
  • Cherokee – 4
  • Chilton – 14
  • Choctaw – 4
  • Clarke – 2
  • Clay – 6
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Coffee – 1
  • Colbert – 5
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 5
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 4
  • DeKalb - 8
  • Elmore – 17
  • Escambia - 2
  • Etowah – 13
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 4
  • Greene – 4
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 9
  • Jefferson – 314
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 14
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 91
  • Limestone – 25
  • Lowndes – 2
  • Macon - 3
  • Madison – 114
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 11
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 67
  • Monroe - 3
  • Montgomery – 45
  • Morgan – 21
  • Pickens – 9
  • Pike – 7
  • Randolph - 6
  • Russell – 2
  • Shelby – 98
  • St. Clair – 19
  • Sumter – 4
  • Talladega – 8
  • Tallapoosa – 17
  • Tuscaloosa – 34
  • Walker – 34
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 5
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7

Case update

Update: Thursday, April 2, 12:35 p.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed in Chambers County Thursday.

Chambers County now has 62 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

That’s an increase of 14 cases since Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Lee County is closing in on 90 confirmed cases. The county has 88 confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

There are two confirmed cases in Macon County, two in Russell County and 15 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

There are 1,179 confirmed cases in Alabama.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 310 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 10
  • Baldwin – 24
  • Bibb - 4
  • Blount – 6
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 12
  • Chambers – 62
  • Cherokee – 3
  • Chilton – 14
  • Choctaw – 4
  • Clarke – 2
  • Clay – 4
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Colbert – 4
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 5
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 4
  • DeKalb - 7
  • Elmore – 17
  • Escambia - 2
  • Etowah – 11
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 4
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 310
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 88
  • Limestone – 25
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 2
  • Madison – 109
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 11
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 61
  • Monroe - 3
  • Montgomery – 40
  • Morgan – 20
  • Pickens – 7
  • Pike – 7
  • Randolph - 6
  • Russell – 2
  • Shelby – 95
  • St. Clair – 19
  • Sumter – 4
  • Talladega – 8
  • Tallapoosa – 15
  • Tuscaloosa – 32
  • Walker – 33
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7

Lee County Boys and Girls Club

Update: Thursday, April 2, 12:20 p.m. 

The Lee County Boys and Girls Club will soon be transitioning to a remote environment so children can still experience the club. 

"Not even COVID-19 can keep us down," the Boys and Girls Club announced on Facebook. "We’re going virtual so you can experience our Boys & Girls Club from the comfort of your own home! More details coming soon but until then visit us online at www.bgcglc.org for more updates on how we are continuing to serve our community and how YOU can get involved."

Death count

Update: Thursday, April 2, 11:55 a.m.

Lee County is reporting that a third resident has died after being diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

ADPH has not confirmed the death as of 11:50 a.m. Thursday. No other information regarding the death was made available.

“Reported Deaths and Died From Illness on the dashboard represent the number of individuals who have a positive lab result and are now deceased,” ADPH explains on its website. “To count a person who died from COVID-19 disease, the medical record of the deceased person has to be reviewed by a physician and Infectious Disease and Outbreak staff. Once review is complete, if the death is attributed to COVID-19, the individual will also appear in the Died From Illness on the dashboard.”

The health department has confirmed two deaths in Lee County.

There are 86 confirmed cases of the virus in Lee County, according to ADPH. 

ADPH has confirmed four deaths in Chambers County, one in Jackson County, one in Lauderdale County, two in Lee County, one in Madison County, three in Mobile County, one in Montgomery County, two in Shelby County, one in Tallapoosa County and one in Washington County.

There are 32 reported deaths in Alabama, according to ADPH.

The following counties are reporting deaths: 

  • Baldwin – 1
  • Chambers – 4
  • Cullman – 1
  • Etowah – 1
  • Houston – 1
  • Jackson – 1
  • Jefferson – 5
  • Lauderdale – 2
  • Lee – 3
  • Madison – 1
  • Marion – 2
  • Mobile – 4
  • Montgomery – 1
  • Shelby – 3
  • Tallapoosa – 1
  • Washington – 1

For more information visit, http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Case update

Update: Thursday, April 2, 8:12 a.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed the second case of COVID-19 in Russell County as cases continue to rise throughout the state.

The second case in Russell County was confirmed Thursday morning, according to ADPH. 

There are now 48 confirmed cases in Chambers County, 85 in Lee County, two in Macon County and 14 in Tallapoosa County.

There are 1,115 confirmed cases in Alabama and 17 confirmed deaths due to the virus.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 305 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 10
  • Baldwin – 23
  • Bibb - 3
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 11
  • Chambers – 48
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 13
  • Choctaw - 4
  • Clay – 3
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Colbert – 4
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 4
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 3
  • DeKalb - 6
  • Elmore – 15
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 10
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 4
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 305
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 85
  • Limestone – 23
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 2
  • Madison – 107
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 11
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 60
  • Monroe - 3
  • Montgomery – 35
  • Morgan – 19
  • Pickens – 4
  • Pike – 7
  • Randolph - 5
  • Russell – 2
  • Shelby – 89
  • St. Clair – 17
  • Sumter – 3
  • Talladega – 8
  • Tallapoosa – 14
  • Tuscaloosa – 30
  • Walker – 32
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7

EAMC update

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 5:40 p.m.

There are 42 patients who either have COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC), the hospital said Wednesday.

There are 30 patients with confirmed COVID-19 hospitalized and 12 patients suspected of having COVID-19 that are hospitalized, EAMC said.

Sixteen patients previously hospitalized with COVID-19 been discharged.

Also, 20 patients who are hospitalized who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have since tested negative for the virus, EAMC added.

Local cases

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 5:30 p.m.

The second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Macon County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Cases also rose throughout the day Wednesday in other east Alabama counties.

There are now 45 confirmed cases in Chambers County, 83 in Lee County, one in Russell County and 14 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

There are 1,105 confirmed cases in the state, 28 reported deaths and 17 confirmed deaths, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 302 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 10
  • Baldwin – 23
  • Bibb - 3
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 11
  • Chambers – 45
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 13
  • Choctaw – 4
  • Clarke – 2
  • Clay – 3
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Colbert – 4
  • Conecuh – 1
  • Coosa – 4
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dale – 1
  • Dallas - 3
  • DeKalb - 6
  • Elmore – 15
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 10
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 4
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 302
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 83
  • Limestone – 23
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 2
  • Madison – 107
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 11
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 57
  • Monroe - 3
  • Montgomery – 35
  • Morgan – 19
  • Pickens – 4
  • Pike – 7
  • Randolph - 5
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 89
  • St. Clair – 19
  • Sumter – 3
  • Talladega – 8
  • Tallapoosa – 14
  • Tuscaloosa – 30
  • Walker – 32
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Small business relief 

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 3:40 p.m.

Gov. Kay Ivey is urging all small business owners in the state to take steps now to ensure their business will withstand the troubling economy.

Small businesses owner need to contact their local banker, accountant, financial advisor or credit union today to get the latest information about who is eligible, what documents are needed and how best to apply for funding relief caused by the coronavirus, Ivey said in a Wednesday news release.

“This coronavirus has disrupted life as we know it, including the critical economic role played by Alabama small businesses,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Only a few short weeks ago, our economy was the strongest it had been in the past 100 years due to the hard work and entrepreneurship of Alabama Small Business Owners. We need our businesses up and running and back at full employment as soon as possible. I urge business owners to act today and be prepared to apply for assistance designed specifically to get them in front of the line when relief checks are written.”

More information and final guideline for how the federal government will distribute financial relief to Alabama’s small businesses will be made available soon, the release said.

Attached is information from the SBA that will provide more information.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s website provides specific information regarding the resources being made available related to Coronavirus relief, including initial guidance.

Under the section entitled Assistance for Small Businesses, there are four links entitled:

This is preliminary information and additional guidance is expected.

Local case increase

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 1:06 p.m.

Lee County now has more than 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Chambers County has more than 40 confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 81 confirmed cases in Lee County, up from the 75 confirmed cases as of Tuesday night. 

Chambers County is up to 42 confirmed cases, a six case increase from Tuesday night, according to ADPH.

There are now 1,060 confirmed cases in Alabama.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 292 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 8
  • Baldwin – 20
  • Bibb - 3
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 11
  • Chambers – 42
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 13
  • Choctaw - 4
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 6
  • Colbert – 4
  • Coosa – 4
  • Covington - 3
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 9
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 5
  • Elmore – 14
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 10
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 4
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 8
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 292
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 81
  • Limestone – 23
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 105
  • Marengo - 4
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 56
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 35
  • Morgan – 19
  • Pickens – 4
  • Pike – 5
  • Randolph - 5
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 88
  • St. Clair – 18
  • Sumter – 2
  • Talladega – 7
  • Tallapoosa – 13
  • Tuscaloosa – 30
  • Walker – 32
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Opelika City Council

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 12:05 p.m.

The city of Opelika plans to hold its city council meeting next week as scheduled, however, there will be no citizen communications or public hearings, the city said Wednesday.

The meeting can be watched via live stream on Facebook by going to https://www.facebook.com/cityofopelika/

The following people will be the only people allowed at the meeting by the city: 

  • Council President Eddie Smith
  • Council Pro-tem Patsy Jones
  • Councilwoman Tiffany Gibson-Pitts
  • Councilman Dozier Smith T
  • Councilman David Cannon
  • Mayor Gary Fuller
  • City Attorney Guy Gunter
  • City Administrator Joey Motley
  • City Clerk Russell Jones
  • Community Relations Officer Leigh Krehling

The change is due to Gov. Kay Ivey’s order by prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.

“We appreciate your patience and understanding,” Eddie Smith said. “These are unchartered waters for all of us and we are doing everything we can to maintain continuity of services and keep things running as smoothly as possible.”

In addition, the following meetings have been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date:

  • CDBG Public Hearing #1 – April 6
  • CDBG Public Hearing #2 - April 8
  • Historic Preservation Commission – April 9
  • Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library Board – April 13
  • Zoning Board of Adjustments – April 14
  • Parks & Recreation Board – April 14

1,000 cases

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 9:36 a.m.

There are now 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama and 17 confirmed deaths, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 75 confirmed cases in Lee County, 36 in Chambers County, one in Macon County, one in Russell County and 13 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 282 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 7
  • Baldwin – 19
  • Bibb - 3
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 9
  • Chambers – 36
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 11
  • Choctaw - 3
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 5
  • Colbert – 4
  • Coosa – 4
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 8
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 12
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 8
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 3
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 8
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 282
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 75
  • Limestone – 22
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 100
  • Marengo - 4
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 53
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 31
  • Morgan – 20
  • Pickens – 4
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 86
  • St. Clair – 15
  • Sumter – 1
  • Talladega – 7
  • Tallapoosa – 13
  • Tuscaloosa – 30
  • Walker – 32
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Death count rises

Update: Wednesday, April 1, 8:08 a.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed 17 deaths and nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in the state.

ADPH is reporting four deaths in Chambers County, one in Jackson County, on in Jefferson, one in Lauderdale County, two in Lee County, one in Madison County, two in Mobile County, one in Montgomery County, two in Shelby County, one in Tallapoosa County and one in Washington County. 

There are 999 confirmed cases of the virus in the state. 

There are 75 confirmed cases in Lee County, 36 in Chambers County, one in Macon County, one in Russell County and 13 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 282 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 7
  • Baldwin – 19
  • Bibb - 3
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 9
  • Chambers – 36
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 11
  • Choctaw - 3
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 5
  • Colbert – 4
  • Coosa – 4
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 8
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 12
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 8
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 3
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 8
  • Jackson – 8
  • Jefferson – 282
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 75
  • Limestone – 22
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 100
  • Marengo - 4
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 53
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 31
  • Morgan – 20
  • Pickens – 4
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 86
  • St. Clair – 15
  • Sumter – 1
  • Talladega – 7
  • Tallapoosa – 13
  • Tuscaloosa – 29
  • Walker – 32
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 3
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Gulf Shores cancels Hangout Music Festival

Update: Tuesday, March 31, 5 p.m.

A popular Alabama beach music festival has been canceled due to COVID-19.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft and the city council unanimously passed a resolution during a special council meeting to cancel the 2020 Hangout Music Festival, the city announced Tuesday.

“Our decision to cancel the event wasn’t taken lightly, but we are confident we have made the right decision for the health and safety of our community,” said Craft. “We have been monitoring the situation for a number of weeks to better understand the spread of COVID-19 and the public health conditions we could expect in mid-May so that we could make the most informed decision to protect everyone involved.”

Hangout Music Festival organizers posted to social media that they were notified Tuesday that the festival was unable to take place in May due to the virus.

“After our fastest sellout ever, and what was shaping up to be a banner year on the beach, we are gutted that this is the outcome for all of you, but agree that this is the right decision for the health and safety of everyone involved,” Hangout wrote in a statement.

Hangout Festival organizers added that they are exploring all options for a rescheduled festival.

The festival was set to take place May 15 – 17. Festival organizers say refunds will be made available.

“We will make another announcement within a couple weeks with more information, including the transfer & refund process,” the statement reads.

Opelika Giving Day pushed to June 3

Update: Tuesday, March 31, 1:11 p.m.

The Community Foundation of East Alabama has rescheduled its second annual Opelika Giving Day for June 3, and extended its application period for nonprofits to participate until April 15.

“In light of the economic circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, we want to make sure Opelika Giving Day is successful for the nonprofits participating, while still being good stewards of our community and understanding the impact that everyone is experiencing,” said Todd Rauch, foundation vice president, in a Tuesday press release.

Opelika Giving Day is a 24-hour online fundraising challenge to support non-profits in Opelika. The event raised over $30,000 for 10 different nonprofits throughout Opelika.

To fill out an application for Opelika Giving Day, visit www.opelikagivingday.org or @opelikagivingday on Facebook.

For more information, visit www.opelikagivingday.org, or email info@opelikagivingday.org. Follow Opelika Giving Day on Facebook, and Instagram for the latest news.

Lee County Commission closes county buildings 

Update: Tuesday, March 31, 12:15 p.m.

Lee County buildings, facilities and services will no longer be open to the public beginning 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Lee County Commission voted on the closures Monday night after a lot of debate. The commission voted to declare a state of emergency in Lee County and closed the courthouse and other county buildings.

The past couple of weeks the courthouse has been open to the public but with limited access. Additionally, an officer with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department has been posted by the doors to monitor access.

County Administrator Roger Rendleman said that right now 15 percent of employees are out due to the coronavirus or similar complications, such as not having childcare.

Rendleman has been present on some of East Alabama Medical Center’s calls and said that while the hospital is doing well for now, a big wave is coming soon.

Although the courthouse will close to the public at 5 p.m., business can be conducted online and over the phone.

The resolution that was passed also said that if the situation changes or worsens, the county administrator or the Chairman can decide to close the courthouse to staff as well.

Remember Auburn's leash law

Update: Tuesday, March 31, 11:53 a.m.

Auburn city officials want to remind dog owners to keep their dogs “under restraint at all times” for the safety of both the dog and the community

Dogs may be allowed off-leash at Auburn's dog parks, including Kiesel Park and Town Creek Park, only if the dog is “under immediate and effective voice control” of their owners. Dogs who are not voice trained should be kept leashed for their safety and for the safety of those around it.

All gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited at all City of Auburn parks through April 30, and all park visitors should remain at least 6 feet apart. All City playgrounds are closed through April 30, including the playground at Town Creek Park.

ADVA case

Update: Tuesday, March 31, 11:50 a.m.

A staff member of an Alabama state veterans home tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) announced Tuesday.

The staff member was employed at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City. The staffer was not allowed to enter the home after exhibiting a slightly elevated temperature at a screening station at the entrance to the facility on Thursday, ADVA said.

The employee was referred for further testing by an external facility. The test came back positive for the virus. The employee is expected to make a full recovery.

The staffer had not been in the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home since March 23, ADVA said.

“We are taking every precautionary step to protect the health and well-being of our veterans and employees,” said ADVA Commissioner Kent Davis. “All of the Alabama state veterans homes are closely following the CDC guidelines for screening symptoms of COVID-19 and taking immediate action. Our meticulous HMR staff, our veterans, and supportive families are all in this together and we look forward to the successful completion of this fight for those who fought for us.”

“The fact that our screening procedures identified this particular staff member before entry into the facility is hopefully a testament to the effectiveness of our precautionary steps.”

AuburnBank

Update: Monday, March 30, 7:26 p.m.

An employee at the AuburnBank Bent Creek branch has tested positive for COVID-19, the bank announced Monday.

AuburnBank is temporarily closing the Bent Creek as a precautionary measure. All bank employees who have been in direct contact with the affected employee have been asked to self-quarantine by staying home for the next 14 days, said AuburnBank.

The Bent Creek branch will undergo deep cleaning in accordance with public health guidelines, AuburnBank said.

The decision on when to reopen the Bent Creek branch will be made in consultation with public health officials, the bank added.

The AuburnBank Bent Creek branch is located at 2315 Bent Creek Rd., Auburn.

Local cases

Update: Monday, March 30, 6:15 p.m.

East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) is reporting a seventh death due to coronavirus.

The death marks the fifth fatality of a Chambers County resident due to the virus since Friday. The hospital is also reporting two deaths of Lee County residents.

There are 20 patients hospitalized at EAMC with confirmed COVID-19. Seven patients previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged, EAMC said.

There are 31 patients hospitalized with suspected COVID-19. Twenty-five patients currently hospitalized who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have since tested negative, EAMC added.

City of Auburn

Update: Monday, March 30, 5:55 p.m.

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders and City Manager Jim Buston have extended the city of Auburn’s state of local emergency through April 30 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the city announced Monday.

The city is encouraging its residents to follow the following guidelines as well as comply with orders from the governor and state health officials:

  • All non-essential and non-emergency travel is strongly discouraged between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Non-work-related public and private gatherings of 10 people or more or non-work-related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are prohibited through April 17, per a public health order from the state.
  • Non-work-related public and private gatherings of 10 people or more or non-work-related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are strongly discouraged through April 30, per the state of local emergency resolution.
  • Businesses that remain open are strongly encouraged to limit numbers of patrons such that the six-foot social distancing standard can be maintained.

The following closures and cancellations have also been extended through April 30:

  • All city buildings are closed to the public through April 30. The city remains operationally open, maintaining regular services supported by the city’s dedicated staff members.
  • All Parks and Recreation programs and events have been canceled through April 30, including Auburn CityFest, the Auburn CityFest Juried Art Show and Preview Reception.
  • All city of Auburn playgrounds, the Auburn/Opelika Skate Park, the bocce ball court at Martin Luther King Park, the Yarbrough Tennis Center, the Samford Tennis Courts, the outdoor basketball courts at Boykin Community Center and Frank Brown Recreation Center are closed through April 30.
  • All reservations for gatherings of more than 10 people at city parks through April 30 will be notified by staff.
  • The Auburn Public Library will remain closed through April 30 and will continue to operate as a resource center for residents looking for information and assistance. All library programs and events have been canceled through April 30. Due dates for items that are currently borrowed from the library have been extended through April 30. Patrons may use the drive-up and walk-up return slots, if they wish to return an item before the library reopens. Patrons can access the library’s extensive collection of online resources—including eBooks, video streaming, digital magazines and more—at auburnalabama.org/library/online-resources.
  • All in-court proceedings at the Auburn Municipal Court have been suspended through April 30.

Mayor Anders has also postponed all Auburn 2040 efforts until further notice.

Local cases

Update: Monday, March 30, 3:58 p.m.

There are now 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County and more than 900 in Alabama.

There are 907 confirmed cases in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Confirmed cases also rose in other east Alabama counties Monday. 

There are 33 confirmed cases in Chambers County, one in Macon County, one in Russell County and 11 in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 253 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 17
  • Bibb - 2
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 7
  • Chambers – 33
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 10
  • Choctaw - 2
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 5
  • Colbert – 4
  • Coosa – 3
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 13
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah – 6
  • Fayette - 1
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene – 3
  • Hale - 1
  • Houston – 9
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 253
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 70
  • Limestone – 19
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 89
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 6
  • Mobile – 43
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 26
  • Morgan – 18
  • Pickens – 3
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 84
  • St. Clair – 14
  • Talladega – 6
  • Tallapoosa – 11
  • Tuscaloosa – 26
  • Walker – 31
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

ADPH employee

Update: Monday, March 30, 3:57 p.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) confirmed the first case of COIVD-19 in an ADPH employee who works at the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories in Montgomery, the department announced Monday.

Laboratory testing confirmed the diagnosis.

The patient had no public interaction on the job and was not working on COVID-19 testing, ADPH said.

“The employee and staff working in close contact with the employee have been sent home for isolation,” ADPH said in a news release. “In addition to the area where the employee worked, the entire building is being cleaned and disinfected according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations.”

Opelika closures

Update: Monday, March 30,  3:45 p.m.

The city of Opelika is extending its building closures until April 17, the city announced Monday afternoon. 

The city will reevaluate the situation by April 16.

Opelika encourages residents who think they have symptoms of COVID-119 to call the 334-528-SICK hotline instead of call 911. 

Opelika is also joining with East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) in asking that area church members to not gather until Lee County has been deemed safe for group activities.

“In addition, we are asking that funeral homes work with families during this time to possibly delay funeral services,” a release from Opelika reads. “This is another place where due to sadness and need for consolation, people tend to come in close contact with one another.” 

Opelika will be locking the outdoor basketball courts at Covington Rec and Bandy Park until it is deemed safe for recreation.

Local cases

Update: Monday, March 30, 11:45 a.m.

There are now 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Confirmed cases also rose in other east Alabama counties overnight. 

There are 28 confirmed cases in Chambers County, one in Macon County, one in Russell County and eight in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

There are 837 confirmed cases in Alabama.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 249 confirmed cases, according to the health department.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 15
  • Bibb - 1
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 28
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 8
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 5
  • Colbert – 2
  • Coosa – 3
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 13
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 6
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 3
  • Houston – 7
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 249
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 60
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 79
  • Marengo - 5
  • Marion – 10
  • Marshall – 5
  • Mobile – 43
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 22
  • Morgan – 17
  • Pickens – 2
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 77
  • St. Clair – 13
  • Talladega – 5
  • Tallapoosa – 8
  • Tuscaloosa – 23
  • Walker – 30
  • Washington – 4
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Tallapoosa County

Update: Monday, March 30, 10:33 a.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is reporting one death in Tallapoosa County due to COVID-19. 

The health department provided no further information on the death. 

ADPH is reporting six deaths associated with the virus.

Major disaster

Update: Monday, March 30, 9 a.m.

President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in Alabama on Sunday and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House said in a news release.

“Federal funding is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Alabama impacted by COVID-19,” the release reads.

“Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Gracia B. Szczech as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.” 

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments, the White House added.

EAMC death

Update: Sunday, march 29, 4:45 p.m.

A sixth East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) patient died during the weekend due to complications brought on by COVID-19, the hospital announced Sunday.

Four of the six deaths were from Chambers County and two were from Lee County, EAMC said.

Only one of the Chambers County deaths was reflected on the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website as of 3 p.m. Sunday because there is an official process that ADPH must complete before adding to the COVID-19 state death count, EAMC said.

There are 22 patients hospitalized at EAMC with confirmed COVID-19. Five patients who were previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged, EAMC said.

Twenty-three patients are hospitalized with suspected COVID-19 and 25 patients currently hospitalized who were previously suspected of COIVD-19 have tested negative for the virus, EAMC said.

Local cases

Update: Sunday, March 29, 4:13 p.m.

The first case of COVID-19 in Macon County has been confirmed as cases continue to rise throughout east Alabama and the state.

The case was confirmed by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Sunday.

There are 59 confirmed cases in Lee County, 27 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and eight in Tallapoosa County.

There are 820 confirmed cases in Alabama, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 247 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 14
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 27
  • Cherokee – 2
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 5
  • Colbert – 2
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 13
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 6
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 3
  • Houston – 6
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 247
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 59
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes – 1
  • Macon - 1
  • Madison – 77
  • Marengo - 4
  • Marion – 10
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 40
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 21
  • Morgan – 17
  • Pickens – 2
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 79
  • St. Clair – 13
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 8
  • Tuscaloosa – 23
  • Walker – 29
  • Washington – 4
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Apple donation

Update: Sunday, March 29, 9:03 a.m.

Apple donated about 63,000 N-95 masks to Alabama to help fight the coronavirus, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Saturday.

Ivey thanked Apple CEO and Auburn alumnus Tim Cook for the donation in a Tweet.

Cases

Update: Sunday, March 29, 8:46 a.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to more than 20 in Chambers County overnight, while Lee County is closing in on 60 confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 23 confirmed cases in Chambers County, 59 in Lee County, one in Russell County and eight in Tallapoosa County.

There are 760 confirmed cases in Alabama, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 214 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 14
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 23
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 4
  • Colbert – 2
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 13
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 6
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 3
  • Houston – 5
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 214
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 12
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 59
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 71
  • Marengo - 4
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 37
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Montgomery - 20
  • Morgan – 17
  • Pickens – 2
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 73
  • St. Clair – 12
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 8
  • Tuscaloosa – 23
  • Walker – 29
  • Washington – 3
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Deaths

Update: Saturday, March 28, 6:28 p.m.

Five people have died in Lee County due to the coronavirus as of 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Lee County Coroner Bill Harris announced.

All five had died at East Alabama Medical Center since early Friday morning. Two of the deaths were Lee County residents and three were Chambers County residents, Harris said.

As of 5 p.m., the death total is not yet reflected on the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website because hospital officials and ADPH are working through the process for official state determination before adding them to the COVID-19 death count, EAMC said. 

“Our hospital family expresses its collective condolences to the families of these five patients,” stated Laura Grill, EAMC President and CEO. “As everyone knows, this virus has taken a toll on our nation and world, and our community is not exempt from that. Our hearts and prayers are with these families at this very difficult time.”  

Grill adds that “the ICU staff, respiratory therapists and physicians who worked most closely with these patients are especially struggling and we ask that the community lift them up today just as they have been lifting up our whole organization the past two weeks.”

There are currently 19 patients being treated at EAMC for the virus. Five patients who were previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged, EMAC said.

There are 22 patients who are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19. Fourteen hospitalized patients who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have been ruled negative.

Case update

Update: Saturday, March 28, 6:15 p.m.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama surpassed 700 Saturday.

There are 712 confirmed cases in Alabama as of 6:40 p.m. Saturday, according to the ADPH.

There are now 56 confirmed cases in Lee County, 17 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and five in Tallapoosa County as of 6:40 p.m. Saturday, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 206 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 10
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 17
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 4
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 13
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 6
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 3
  • Houston – 4
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 206
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 56
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 62
  • Marengo - 3
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 34
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 15
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 72
  • St. Clair – 10
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 5
  • Tuscaloosa – 23
  • Walker – 28
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Local, state cases

Update: Saturday, March 28, 3:48 p.m.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama is nearing 700.

There are 696 confirmed cases in Alabama and cases in east Alabama are also rising, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 56 confirmed cases in Lee County, 17 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and five in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 195 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 10
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 3
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 17
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 2
  • Cleburne – 4
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 12
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 6
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 3
  • Houston – 4
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 195
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 13
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 56
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 62
  • Marengo - 3
  • Marion – 9
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 30
  • Monroe - 1
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 15
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 72
  • St. Clair – 11
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 5
  • Tuscaloosa – 22
  • Walker – 28
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

War hero Bennie Adkins still fighting

Update: Saturday, March 28, 2 p.m.

Medal of Honor recipient and Opelika resident Bennie Adkins remains stable in critical condition at East Alabama Medical Center, his family said on Saturday.

Adkins, 86, a Vietnam war hero and author of the book, "A Tiger Among Us," went into respiratory arrest and was placed on a ventilator Thursday while suffering from the coronavirus COVID-19.

The family continues to request prayers, and has expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support.

Local cases

Update: Saturday, March 28, 10:01 a.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in Lee County and throughout the state.

There are now 53 confirmed cases in Lee County, 15 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and five in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 644 confirmed cases in Alabama. Three deaths have been reported.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in Lee County and throughout the state.

There are now 53 confirmed cases in Lee County, 15 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and five in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 644 confirmed cases in Alabama. Three deaths have been reported.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 179 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 15
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 3
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 4
  • Elmore – 12
  • Escambia - 1
  • Etowah - 5
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 1
  • Houston – 4
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 179
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 11
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 53
  • Limestone – 16
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 61
  • Marengo - 2
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 28
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 13
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 70
  • St. Clair – 9
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 5
  • Tuscaloosa – 22
  • Walker – 24
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Auburn City Schools announces online plan 

Update: Friday, March 27, 6:45 p.m.

Auburn City Schools has developed a plan to begin distance learning on April 6 in accordance with Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement yesterday that no public schools will return to classes this school year. 

“Although students will not return to their school building, Auburn City Schools will implement a distance learning plan for all students beginning April 6, 2020,” according to a letter from Superintendent Cristen Herring Friday evening. 

“In an effort to ensure success, the school system has designed the week of March 30-April 3 as a practice week of distance learning to help both teachers and families uncover and solve as many obstacles related to distance learning as possible.”

Although there are only six weeks of school left, and the term will end March 15, objectives and goals have been set for the period, Herring said. 

“An important goal is finding the appropriate balance between the distance learning workload and necessary mastery for the next level of learning,” she said. 

Teachers will begin reaching out on Sunday, March 29, Herring said, to discuss course plans and the week of practice for the remote learning. 

There will be assessments and checkpoints each week as well. 

“Educators are working diligently to make this transition as meaningful and relevant for learning as possible,” Herring said. “While the above plan communicates an instructional approach to the current health crisis, we are mindful that the health and safety, both physical and emotional, of students and families are most important right now. 

Auburn City Schools is committed to an instructional partnership and to making this plan work for our students.”

The week of May 18-22 will be set aside for the makeup of any work, missed assignments and turning in school property, Herring added. 

“With gratitude for your unwavering support, we wish to express our appreciation for your assistance in implementing the ACS distancing learning plan,” Herring said. “It is our hope that students will acquire important life skills such as adaptability, perseverance, and problem solving in addition to the critical content for their subjects and courses.

 Please know that our teachers, counselors, and administrative team stand ready to assist as we work together to complete our 2019-2020 school year.”

Local cases

Update: Friday, March 27, 5:50 p.m.

There are more than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Lee County has 51 confirmed cases of the virus, up from Thursday night’s count of 47 confirmed cases.

Tallapoosa County also confirmed another case, bringing the county’s total to five confirmed cases, according to ADPH. 

There are 15 confirmed cases in Chambers County and one in Russell County. 

There are 627 confirmed cases in Alabama. There were 517 confirmed cases in the state as of Thursday night.   

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 179 confirmed cases

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 5
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 15
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 3
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 3
  • Elmore – 12
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 1
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 5
  • Jefferson – 179
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 11
  • Lawrence – 2
  • Lee – 51
  • Limestone – 15
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 60
  • Marengo - 2
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 23
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 10
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 4
  • Randolph - 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 69
  • St. Clair – 9
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 5
  • Tuscaloosa – 22
  • Walker – 24
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2
  • Winston - 2 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

EAMC update

Update: Friday, March 27, 5:43 p.m.

The number of patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) with COVID-19 continues to increase.

There are 20 patients hospitalized at EAMC with COVID-19. Three patients who were previously hospitalized with COVID-19 have been discharged, the hospital said Friday.

Additionally, there are 21 patients who are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19, EAMC said.

Fourteen hospitalized patients who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have been ruled negative of the virus, EAMC added.

Case update

Update: Friday, March 27, 4:37 p.m.

There are now more than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) reports that there are 604 confirmed cases as of 4:36 p.m. Friday.

The number of confirmed cases in Chambers County also rose to 15 confirmed virus cases, according to ADPH. 

There are 49 confirmed cases in Lee County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County.

Jefferson County has the most of any county in the state with 179 confirmed cases.

There were 47 confirmed cases in Lee County and 517 in Alabama as of Thursday night.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 4
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 15
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 7
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 3
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 1
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 7
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 12
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 1
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 4
  • Jefferson – 179
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 9
  • Lawrence – 2
  • Lee – 49
  • Limestone – 15
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 53
  • Marengo - 2
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 23
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 10
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 3
  • Randolph - 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 67
  • St. Clair – 9
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 21
  • Walker – 23
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Auburn closures

Update: Friday, March 27, 3:42 p.m.

The city of Auburn is closing all city playgrounds, the Auburn/Opelika skate park, he bocce ball court at Martin Luther King Park, the Yarbrough Tennis Center and the Samford Tennis Courts due to the updated statewide public health order. 

The parks mentioned above are closed to the public effective immediately through April 17. 

Case update

Update: Friday, March 27, 2:42 p.m. 

Another case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lee County, bringing the county’s total to 48 confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 587 confirmed cases in Alabama and three deaths in the state.

There are confirmed cases 13 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 177 confirmed cases.

There were 47 confirmed cases in Lee County and 517 in Alabama as of Thursday night.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 4
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 3
  • Chambers – 13
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 6
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 3
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa – 2
  • Covington - 1
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 6
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 12
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Greene - 1
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 4
  • Jefferson – 177
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 9
  • Lawrence – 2
  • Lee – 48
  • Limestone – 14
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 47
  • Marengo - 2
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 4
  • Mobile – 23
  • Montgomery – 18
  • Morgan – 9
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 2
  • Randolph - 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 66
  • St. Clair – 9
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 21
  • Walker – 23
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Auburn University graduation 

Update: Friday, March 27, 12:30 p.m.

Auburn University announced that it will combine its spring commencement ceremony with its summer commencement ceremony. 

The summer graduation ceremony will be held on August 8-9 and any spring graduates can choose to participate at that time, according to a Friday afternoon release from the university. 

“The announcement follows the university’s recent decision to transition all spring on-campus instruction to remote delivery and cancel campus events through the end of the semester,” the release said. “In a letter to campus last week, President Jay Gogue indicated the university would assess alternate commencement plans while still conferring degrees to those students who meet graduation eligibility." 

Summer graduation could be postponed based on the coronavirus pandemic’s progression, however, the release said, though that decision would be made in the future. 

“Although our spring graduates will already have their degrees conferred, we know how important this Auburn tradition is to our students,” said President Jay Gogue. “There is no academic ceremony more symbolic than commencement, and we understand what walking across the stage means to our students and their families.”

Spring graduates will receive more information from the university next week in an email. 

Students who ordered regalia but will not participate in the summer graduation can request a refund, the release said. 

“Traditionally, Auburn’s summer commencement program recognizes 1,500 graduates across two ceremonies,” the release said. “By combining spring and summer exercises, the university will extend the event to multiple ceremonies across two days, provided the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.”

The ceremony will be available via live-stream and more information is available here: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/provost/graduation/.

Auburn University to hold summer classes remotely 

Update: Friday, March 27, 12:15 p.m.

Auburn University has announced that its summer classes will be held remotely.

Auburn University holds three sessions of summer classes. The first is a 10 week session that covers the entire summer from May 20 to July 31. The second session covers from May 20 to June 23. A third session takes place from June 29 to July 31. 

Right now, the university has made the decision to hold Sessions one and two remotely, according to a Friday morning release. 

Session three could be delivered in person, that decision will be made by June 1, the release said. 

Registration for summer courses will open on Monday, April 6. 

“The decision comes as Auburn continues to observe policies and practices aimed at mitigating public health concerns related to COVID-19,” the release said. “As students prepare to make fall and summer registration decisions, the university will continue to support programs and offer coursework designed to support students' continuous academic progress.”

The university is offering students free shipping of course materials from the Auburn University Bookstore, as well. 

Additionally, the university announced that all study abroad programs for the summer have been canceled. 

“The decision reflects Auburn's response to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control recommending higher education institutions cancel abroad programs due to global concerns over the growing outbreak,” the release said. 

“These concerns highlight the unpredictable circumstances students could face while abroad, such as travel restrictions, challenges in returning to the U.S., or accessing health care. This decision also aligns with the U.S. State Department's current elevation of the global health advisory level to a 4 (Do Not Travel).”

Students will receive refunds for fees paid for the spring and summer, the release said. 

“While I am hopeful that the risks associated with COVID-19 will lessen in the coming weeks and months, Auburn must continue to do its part to decrease the chances of transmitting the virus and protect the health of others," said President Jay Gogue. "I know this decision is disappointing for our students and faculty who had planned to study abroad this summer. However, I am confident that limiting travel and continuing remote instruction for the foreseeable future is the best way that Auburn can actively help to slow the transmission of the virus."

Business closures

Update: Friday, March 27, 11: 12 a.m.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that businesses deemed non-essential are closed until at least 5 p.m. on April 17.

Beginning Saturday at 5 p.m., the following "non-essential" businesses, venues and activities will be closed to non-employees or not take place, according to Ivey's order: 

  • Entertainment venues
    • Night clubs
    • Bowling alleys
    • Arcades 
    • Concert venues
    • Theaters, auditoriums and performing arts center
    • Tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums)
    • Racetracks
    • Indoor children's play areas
    • Adult entertainment venues
    • Casions
    • Bingo halls
    • Venues operated by social clubs
  • Athletic facilities and activities 
    • Fitness centers and commercial gyms
    • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
    • Yoga, barre and spin facilities
    • Spectator sports
    • Sport that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet
    • Activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
    • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment 
  • Close-contact service providers
    • Barber shops
    • Hair salons
    • Waxing salons
    • Threading salons
    • Nail salons and spas
    • Body-art facilities and tattoo services
    • Tanning salons
    • Massage-therapy establishments and massage services
  • Retail stores
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores
    • Department stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft and music stores

Ivey added that she does not feel that there’s a need for a shelter in place at this time.

Also, beginning Saturday at 5 p.m. all dental, medical or surgical producers must be postponed until further notice. However, procedures necessary to treat an emergency medical condition or to avoid serious harm may continue. 

Deaths

Update: Friday, March 27, 7:45 a.m.

Three people have died in Alabama due to the coronavirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

The deaths occurred in Jackson, Madison and Lauderdale counties, according to ADPH.

The first death was reported Wednesday.

There are now confirmed cases in Lee County, 13 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 538 confirmed cases in the state.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 173 confirmed cases.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 3
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 2
  • Chambers – 13
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 4
  • Choctaw - 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 1
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa - 2
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 6
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 10
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 4
  • Jefferson – 173
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 9
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 47
  • Limestone – 13
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 43
  • Marengo - 1
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 3
  • Mobile – 21
  • Montgomery – 17
  • Morgan – 9
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 53
  • St. Clair – 6
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 20
  • Walker – 18
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Opelika Main Street Postpones Event 

Update: Thursday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.

Opelika Main Street announced on its Twitter Thursday evening that the 'On Tap' event has been postponed. 

“A new date will be announced on social media in the coming days,” the tweet said.

EAMC update

Update: Thursday, March 26, 6:41 p.m.

The number of patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) with COVID-19 has increased.

There are 15 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at EAMC. One patient who was previously hospitalized with the virus has been discharged, EAMC said.

There are 24 patients who are hospitalized with suspected COVID-19.

Twelve hospitalized patients who were previously suspected of COVID-19 have been ruled negative of the virus, EAMC said.

Opelika City Schools will not meet again 

Update: Thursday, March 26, 6:23 p.m.

Opelika City Schools, in according with Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement, will not reconvene for the remainder of the school year. 

"We realize there are many unanswered questions at this time,” said Superintendent Mark Neighbors Thursday evening. “Once we have more information regarding  items such as graduation and final grades, we will communicate that with you.  We ask for your patience as we continue to navigate this process.”

Auburn City Schools Prepare

Update: Thursday, March 26, 6:07 p.m. 

Auburn City Schools released a statement Thursday afternoon in response to Gov. Kay Ivey's announcement. 

“With much appreciation for the work our teachers and team have already accomplished in the redesign of teaching and learning, ACS will receive further direction from the Alabama State Department of Education on Friday and continue communicating with students and parents,” the Facebook post by superintendent Cristen Herring said.  

Ivey announced that all public schools would finish the remainder of the year remotely and should commence instruction on April 6.

The school system is preparing to act based on Ivey’s announcement, Herring said. 

“In keeping with our mission, to ensure each student realizes and embraces their own unique talents and intellectual gifts, and to achieve personal aspirations while admirably contributing to the greater good, Auburn City Schools is well prepared to move into the days and weeks ahead,” she said. 

Local, state cases

Update: Thursday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to climb in east Alabama. 

There are now 47 confirmed cases in Lee County, 13 in Chambers County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 517 confirmed cases in the state.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 159 confirmed cases.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 2
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 2
  • Chambers – 13
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 4
  • Choctaw -  1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 1
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa - 1
  • Crenshaw - 1
  • Cullman – 6
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 10
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 4
  • Jefferson – 159
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 9
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 47
  • Limestone – 13
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 43
  • Marengo - 1
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 3
  • Mobile – 18
  • Montgomery – 17
  • Morgan – 9
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 52
  • St. Clair – 6
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 19
  • Walker – 17
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 2

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Spring high school sports officially canceled in Alabama

Update: Thursday, March 26, 4:45 p.m.

Alabama state superintendent Eric Mackey announced there would be no more spring high school sporting events during a press conference with governor Kay Ivey. The decision means a premature close to the season for baseball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and track teams across the state as well as other extracurricular activities such as band.

Mackey’s comments came shortly after Ivey announced that all Alabama public school students will study from home beginning April 6 through the end of school year.

Gov. Kay Ivey press conference

Update: Thursday, March 26, 4 p.m. 

Alabama public schools will move to online instruction for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday.

Ivey signed a supplemental state of emergency Thursday stating that all public K-12 schools will begin to implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the State Superintendent of Education.

The alternative methods of instruction will begin on April 6, 2020, the proclamation states.

Case update

Update: Thursday, March 26, 3:09 p.m.

There are now more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama as numbers in Lee County near the 50 mark. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed 501 cases of the virus in the state as of 3:10 p.m. Thursday. 

There are now 47 confirmed cases in Lee County, nine in Chambers County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County, according to ADPH. 

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 6
  • Baldwin – 5
  • Blount – 2
  • Bullock - 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 2
  • Chambers – 9
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 4
  • Choctaw -  1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 1
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa - 1
  • Cullman – 6
  • Dallas - 3
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 10
  • Etowah - 4
  • Franklin – 3
  • Houston – 3
  • Jackson – 3
  • Jefferson – 148
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 9
  • Lawrence – 3
  • Lee – 47
  • Limestone – 12
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 43
  • Marengo - 1
  • Marion – 7
  • Marshall – 3
  • Mobile – 18
  • Montgomery – 17
  • Morgan – 9
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 2
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 52
  • St. Clair – 7
  • Talladega – 4
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 19
  • Walker – 18
  • Washington – 2
  • Wilcox – 1

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

Press conference

Update: Thursday, March 26, 12:17 p.m.

Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris will hold a joint press conference at 4 p.m. Thursday. The conference will be streamed on Ivey's official Facebook page. 

Cases update

Update: Thursday, March 26, 12:15 p.m.

There are now 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County, nine in Chambers County, one in Russell County and four in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). 

There are 472 confirmed cases in Alabama, up from the 449 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning. 

Local, state cases

Update: Thursday, March 26, 9:12 a.m.

There are now 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County as the number of cases climb to more than 440 in Alabama.

There are 449 confirmed cases in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

Chambers County has 10 confirmed cases, Russell County has one confirmed case and Tallapoosa County has four confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has the most cases of any county in the state with 141 cases.

There were 40 confirmed cases in Lee County, ten in Chambers County, four in Tallapoosa County and one in Russell County as of Wednesday night.

ADPH confirmed the first death of an Alabama resident due to the virus Wednesday night.

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 5
  • Baldwin – 4
  • Blount – 2
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 2
  • Chambers – 10
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 4
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 1
  • Coffee - 1
  • Colbert – 1
  • Coosa - 1
  • Cullman – 6
  • Dallas - 2
  • DeKalb - 1
  • Elmore – 10
  • Etowah - 3
  • Franklin – 2
  • Houston – 2
  • Jackson – 2
  • Jefferson – 141
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 7
  • Lawrence – 1
  • Lee – 44
  • Limestone – 10
  • Lowndes - 1
  • Madison – 37
  • Marengo - 1
  • Marion – 5
  • Marshall – 3
  • Mobile – 13
  • Montgomery – 16
  • Morgan – 7
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 48
  • St. Clair – 6
  • Talladega – 3
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 17
  • Walker – 17
  • Washington – 1
  • Wilcox – 1

For the latest figures from the health department visit: https://alpublichealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6d2771faa9da4a2786a509d82c8cf0f7.

First Alabama virus death

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 8:56 p.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has confirmed the first coronavirus death in Alabama.

The patient, a Jackson County resident, had underlying health problems and passed away in a facility outside the state, ADPH said.

“We express our deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of the patient who died, as well as to the families of everyone who has been affected by this outbreak,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “The health of our residents and the community is our greatest priority, and we will continue working together to care for the patients, protect the safety of health care workers, and protect the people in our state." 

The patient was a Jackson County part-time employee, Tim Guffey, chairman of the Jackson County Commission, said in a Wednesday news release.

The employee worked in the courthouse, Guffey added and that all employees who may become in contact with the individual have been notified. 

“The work area where the employee worked will be fully sanitized and will be checked thoroughly before any employees are allowed to return to work,” Guffey said. 

The courthouse will not be open until April 6, at least.  

“The Jackson County Commission and the employees of the county offer the family of one of our part-time employees its heartfelt sympathy in the passing of their loved one,” Guffey said. 

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement once the first coronavirus death was confirmed. 

"I extend my prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones during these extraordinary circumstances,” Ivey said in a statement. “I continue 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.”

Arbor Springs

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 8:47 p.m.

An Opelika rehab center resident and employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Arbor Spring Health and Rehab Center was notified Monday afternoon that a resident tested positive for the virus, the center said in a news release.

The resident was sent to the hospital during the weekend before they were tested and remained in the hospital as of Wednesday night, Arbor Springs said.

An employee of Arbor Springs received a positive COVID-19 test result late Tuesday. The employee, however, hasn’t worked for 14 days in Arbor Springs’ building.

“Before the resident developed symptoms, Arbor Springs had implemented safety measures to limit our residents’ exposure to visitors and contact with each other to reduce infections,” the release reads.

“After receiving the diagnosis, we immediately contacted the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Lee County Department of Health and had already begun implementing additional protocols to help ensure the safety of our residents and employees.”

The facility remains in contact with government officials for support and guidance.

Arbor Springs said it’s following CDC and ADPH guidelines regarding testing and protection. As a result, the facility will be testing all employees and residents.

“The well-being and safety of our residents has always been and still remains our top priority,” the release reads. ‘We have contacted the families of our residents and are very much appreciative of their patience and understanding during these times.”

Protective protocols remain in place at Arbor Springs.

EAMC update

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 6:17 p.m.

The number of patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) with COVID-19 has increased. However, the number of patients who are hospitalized with suspected COVID-19 has decreased, the hospital said Wednesday night.

There are nine patients hospitalized at EAMC with COVID-19, with one of them being from a nursing home. There are 25 patients who are hospitalized with suspected COVID-19, EAMC said.

One patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged, EAMC added.

There were seven patients at EAMC with COVID-19 and 27 patients hospitalized with suspected COVID-19 as of Tuesday night.

Local, state cases

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 5:16 p.m.

There are now 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County while numbers in Chambers and Tallapoosa counties continue to rise. Russell County also confirmed its first case of the virus.

Chambers County has 10 confirmed cases and Tallapoosa County has four confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

The number of confirmed cases in Alabama has soared to 386, a 103 case increase from Wednesday morning.

Jackson County is reporting that a part-time county employee died after contracting coronavirus, the Jackson County Commission said in a news release. 

ADPH, however, has not confirmed a death from COVID-19 at this time, the department said in a tweet. 

The following is a breakdown of Alabama cases by county:

  • Autauga – 4
  • Baldwin – 4
  • Blount – 1
  • Butler – 1
  • Calhoun – 2
  • Chambers – 10
  • Cherokee – 1
  • Chilton – 1
  • Clay – 1
  • Cleburne – 1
  • Colbert – 1
  • Cullman – 4
  • Dallas -2
  • Elmore – 9
  • Franklin – 2
  • Houston – 2
  • Jackson – 2
  • Jefferson – 129
  • Lamar – 1
  • Lauderdale – 6
  • Lee – 40
  • Limestone – 6
  • Madison – 35
  • Marion – 3
  • Marshall – 1
  • Mobile – 10
  • Montgomery – 13
  • Morgan – 5
  • Pickens – 1
  • Pike – 1
  • Russell – 1
  • Shelby – 42
  • St. Clair – 6
  • Talladega – 3
  • Tallapoosa – 4
  • Tuscaloosa – 15
  • Walker – 9
  • Washington – 1
  • Wilcox – 1

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Opelika to scale back recycling operation

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 3:07 p.m.

The city of Opelika is scaling back its recycling operation for now, due to COVID-19 and its potential impact on city employees.

“Opelika’s Recycling Centers on 8th Avenue and Jeter Avenue are temporarily closing. We will also temporarily discontinue our commercial cardboard route until further notice,” according to city spokeswoman Leigh Krehling.

Krehling said the city would reopen the recycling sites and restart the commercial cardboard routes as soon as possible; however, curbside recycling is still on for now.

Auburn City Council to hold special meeting 

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 1:50 p.m.

The city of Auburn will hold a special meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. remotely. 

"[The meeting is] to discuss commercial loan assistance for local businesses," according to a Wednesday release. "The meeting will be held using the video conferencing platform, Zoom."

The details of the meeting will be updated here: auburnalabama.org/agenda

Auburn offers filing help for unemployed

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 1:11 p.m.

The city of Auburn's Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Workforce Development division have formed a Workforce Action Center. Unemployment claims can be made by calling 866-234-5382 or by visiting labor.alabama.gov, and online filing is strongly encouraged.

While the center is available for those who need assistance or those without computer access, individuals do not have to come to the Workforce Action Center at 1500 Pumphrey Ave. for service.

Staff members from the City of Auburn’s Economic Development team will be available in a laptop lab to help workers file claims for unemployment online. People may also call the hotline set up at 334-501-7308 to ask questions about workforce-related needs.

Valley-area school

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 1:06 p.m.

A person at W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley has tested positive for COVID-19, the school said in a Facebook post.

“While it is unknown when this individual contracted the virus, this family was advised by the ADPH to contact everyone that the individual has had contact with over the last two weeks,” the post reads. 

“Therefore, out of our responsibility to you and your family, we are sending this notification to inform you that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 through contact with this individual.” 

The school did not say if the person was an employee, teacher or student.

The school encourages its community to monitor themselves and their family for the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Shortness of breath

Bruce Pearl

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 11:15 a.m. 

Local cases

Update: Wednesday, March 25, 10:36 a.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County is nearing 30 as cases continue to rise throughout the state.

There are now 29 confirmed cases in Lee County, seven in Chambers County and three in Tallapoosa County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

The number of confirmed cases in Alabama has risen to 283, up from 242. No deaths have been reported. 

There were 26 confirmed cases in Lee County, five in Chambers County and two in Tallapoosa County as of Tuesday night.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 99, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has 36 confirmed cases while Madison County has 21 confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa and Mobile counties have 10 confirmed cases each, according to the health department. 

Montgomery and Elmore counties have nine confirmed cases each. Walker County has eight confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Lauderdale and Limestone counties have six confirmed cases each. St. Clair County has five confirmed cases. 

Baldwin and Talladega counties have four confirmed cases each. Cullman County has three confirmed cases. 

Calhoun, Jackson and Morgan counties have two confirmed cases each.

Autauga, Franklin, Houston, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, Pike and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn University Adjusts Move-Out 

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 7:45 p.m.

Auburn University Housing has adjusted its move-out policy after concerns from parents and students Tuesday. 

Students can now move out their belongings on any weekend between March 27 through June 28, Auburn University Housing announced on its Facebook page Tuesday evening. 

“Our email earlier today about early move-out caused understandable concerns by many of you and your families,” the post said. “Please know your voices have been heard. Because your health and safety is Auburn's top priority, we have adjusted the move-out plan to give you more flexibility and peace of mind. 

We are so sorry for any confusion and anxiety that may have been caused. We ask that you please disregard the previous information and move-out dates.” 

The residence halls, during those weekends, will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Additionally, students do not need to fill out any forms beforehand, the post added. 

For any students who are not able to retrieve their belongings, Auburn University Housing will store them until the student is able to come.  

“We thank you for expressing your concerns as well as your patience and understanding,” the post concluded. “Our goal is to provide the best and safest option for all during these uncertain times. Please note: check out procedures (returning keys), refunds, and obtaining/fowarding mail still remain the same as before. All of this information has been sent to your AU Email as well."

Opelika plans as if school will not reconvene

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.

Opelika City Schools announced in a Tuesday afternoon press release that the schools are, at this time, planning on not returning.

“I wanted to take a moment to touch base with you on our plans or the next few weeks in regard to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and schools being closed,” said Superintendent Mark Neighbors in the release. 

“We realize that being absent from school can be difficult to many children so we are trying to alleviate some of that stress by providing a connection to school and their teachers.”

Neighbors said that the plan not to return isn’t official and the school system is waiting on word from the State Department of Education and the Governor’s Office.  

“This week, we are developing an instructional plan to provide critical content to students by each grade span,” he said. “In order to provide continuity and consistency of instruction, our administrators are working on an instructional plan that will provide critical content to students while our schools are closed.” 

The plan should be announced by March 30, Neighbors said. Resources can be found on each school’s website and teachers will be calling parents soon. 

“Our plan is to focus on critical content so students will be prepared for the next school year,” Neighbors added. “We are awaiting guidance from ALSDE for clarification on many issues including grades, graduation, earning course credits, etc.”

EAMC cases

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 6:15 p.m.

There are seven patients hospitalized at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) with COVID-19 with one of them being from a nursing home, the hospital said Tuesday evening.

One patient who was previously hospitalized with COVID-19 has been discharged and 27 patients are currently hospitalized with suspected COVID-19, EAMC added.

“Like other hospitals, we have surge capacity contingency plans that have to be considered during times like these,” EAMC president and CEO Laura Grill said. “As such, we have made some changes to where we care for certain patient types so as to separate our non-COVID patients from our confirmed or suspected COVID patients.”

The age range of the patients who have tested positive is between 20-years and 82-years. The symptoms of the patients range from mild to severe, EAMC said.

EAMC has submitted more than 700 collection kits to one of four laboratories. The number of collection kits includes the HealthPlus drive-thru site, EAMC’s emergency department, EAMC-Lanier’s drive-thru site and EAMC-Lanier's emergency department. It does not include any kits that were submitted by area physicians, EAMC said.

A total of 416 tests have come back negative, while 252 tests were awaiting results as of Monday. The average time for a test to yield results is four days but some have taken up to seven days, said EAMC.

Cases climb

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 4:48 p.m.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to climb in Lee County, Chambers County, Tallapoosa County and the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are now 26 confirmed cases in Lee County, five in Chambers County and two in Tallapoosa County.

The number of confirmed cases in Alabama has risen to 242. No deaths have been reported, ADPH said. 

Tallapoosa County had one confirmed case as of Tuesday morning. Lee County had 21 confirmed cases and Chambers County had two confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 91, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has 27 confirmed cases while Madison County has 21 confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has 10 confirmed cases, according to the health department. 

Montgomery County has nine confirmed cases and Elmore County has eight confirmed cases. Mobile County has six confirmed cases Walker County has five confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Baldwin, St. Clair and Limestone counties have four confirmed cases each. Cullman and Lauderdale and counties have three confirmed cases each. 

Calhoun, Jackson, Morgan and Talladega counties have two confirmed cases each.

Autauga, Franklin, Houston, Lamar, Marion and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn student

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 3:34 p.m.

An Auburn University student has tested positive for coronavirus, Fred Kam, the medical director for the Auburn University Medical Clinic, told the Opelika-Auburn News.

“An Auburn student has tested positive for SARS CoV-2 which causes COVID-19,” Kam said in an email.

The student is believed to have contracted the virus outside of the United States during spring break. The student lives off-campus, Kam said.

“This student has been taking all online classes since the beginning of this semester and posed no direct threat to the campus community,” said Kam.

Those who have come in direct contact with the student have already been notified about the possible exposure and asked to voluntarily self-quarantine for at least 14 days, Kam added.

Auburn sends move out schedule to dorm residents

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 2:50 p.m.

Auburn Dining offers refunds to students 

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 1:45 p.m.

Auburn University sent an email to students Tuesday afternoon with further instructions regarding reimbursements for campus dining plans. 

“President Gogue recently let you know that Auburn will provide prorated refunds for your dining plan,” said the email from campus dining, student affairs. “We know this is a challenging time for everyone, and our goal is to make receiving your refund as quick and easy as possible for you and your family.”

Students should log onto AU Access, click on the ‘My Finances tab’ and click ‘Refunds Fast and East’. 

Not all students will receive the same refund. Prorated refunds will depend on the remaining balance in the account. The email provided a link where students can check their balances: https://get.cbord.com/auburn/full/prelogin.php.  

“If your account balance is more than the prorated refund, the difference will be made available for the coming academic year,” the email added. “However, if you graduate this spring or summer and have remaining funds, please contact us at dining@auburn.edu."

Local cases

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 10:36 a.m.

There are now more than 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Tuesday morning.

Lee County has 21 confirmed cases and Chambers County now has three confirmed cases, ADPH said. 

The number of confirmed cases has risen from 196 to 215 in Alabama. No deaths have been reported. 

Tallapoosa County continues to have one confirmed case. Lee County had 19 confirmed cases Monday night.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 90, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has 24 confirmed cases while Madison County has 21 confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has nine confirmed cases, according to the health department. 

Montgomery and Elmore counties have eight confirmed cases each. St. Clair County has four confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Baldwin, Lauderdale, Mobile and Walker counties have three confirmed cases each. 

Calhoun, Cullman and Limestone counties have two confirmed cases each.

Franklin, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Marion, Morgan, Talladega and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

"Great American Takeout" 

Update: Tuesday, March 24, 9:02 a.m.

The Opelika Chamber of Commerce is encouraging residents to order takeout from their favorite restaurant Tuesday as part of a national effort to help the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Great American Takeout,” a social media movement, is encouraging people throughout the country to order at least one of their meals to go on Tuesday.

The Opelika chamber decided to encourage residents to partake in the national effort in hopes of helping local businesses.

“We realize many people are already doing curbside pickup, and this is going to help our restaurants during this unique time,” Opelika Chamber of Commerce President Pam Powers-Smith said. “Tomorrow (Tuesday) is just to encourage citizens to not forget our restaurants that have much-reduced business right now. Pick your favorite or try something new, call your order in and pick it up curbside!”

A list of the restaurants that the Opelika-Auburn News knows of that are offering curbside or take out can be found on oanow.com.

Local cases

Update: Monday, March 23, 4:39 p.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen from 17 to 19 in Lee County and the first case of the virus has been confirmed in Tallapoosa County, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Monday afternoon.

There are still two confirmed cases in Chambers County while the number of confirmed cases in Alabama has risen to 196.

Lee County had 16 confirmed cases as of Sunday night.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 86, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has 22 confirmed cases while Madison County has 21 confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has nine confirmed cases and Elmore County has six confirmed cases, according to the health department. 

Montgomery County has four confirmed cases.

Baldwin, Lauderdale, St. Clair and Walker counties have three confirmed cases each. 

Calhoun, Cullman and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Franklin, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, Talladega and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Opelika Utilities

Update: Monday, March 23, 1:56 p.m.

Opelika Utilities is closing its lobby to walk-in traffic beginning Monday until further notice, the city of Opelika announced.

The drive-thru will remain open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

All new service requests must be conducted by telephone, the city said. 

Mask donations

Update: Monday, March 23, 1:53 p.m.

An anonymous donor has donated 100,000 masks/PPE’s to Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday on her Twitter account.

Ivey writes that her office is working to provide resources to the state’s healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It truly takes a team effort as we seek to flatten the curve,” the tweet reads.

Auburn Public Library is now a help center 

Update: Monday, March 23, 11:35 a.m.

The Auburn Public Library has transitioned to a help center as of Monday morning as coronavirus continues to affect Lee County. 

“This morning we have transitioned the library to be a call center for information for the citizens of Auburn,” said Mayor Ron Anders in a Monday morning announcement.  

Citizens can reach out to the library for information by calling 334-501-7307 or emailing weblibrary@auburnalabama.org

“Simply put, we want to be a conduit of information for you,” Anders said. “If you have questions or concerns please give us a call, send us an email and we will do everything we can to connect you to those people or those organizations in our community that might can help you or provide this services that you’re looking for.”

Theses resources are not for emergencies, however, Anders said. This number and email is for other concerns, non-emergency concerns. 

The library will be serving as a resource on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

“Don’t hesitate to call our staff at the library, email our staff at the library,” Anders said. “We want to be able to answer your questions and make sure that you have all the information you need as we deal with this unusual time, unprecedented time in our community.”

Local cases

Update: Monday, March 23, 11:03 a.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County continues to rise.

There are now 17 confirmed cases in Lee County. Chambers County continues to have two confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 167 confirmed cases in Alabama, up form the 157 confirmed cases Sunday night. No deaths have been reported, according to ADPH.

Lee County had 16 confirmed cases as of Sunday night.

Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 79, according to ADPH.

Shelby and Madison counties also have 17 confirmed cases each. Tuscaloosa County has seven confirmed cases and Elmore County has six confirmed cases, according to the health department. 

Montgomery and St. Clair counties have three confirmed cases each. 

Baldwin, Cullman, Lauderdale and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html.

State income tax

Update: Monday, March 23, 10:53 a.m.

The state income tax filing due date is being extended to July 15 due to coronavirus, Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Revenue announced Monday.

The filing date is being extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. 

Taxpayers also can defer state income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed, a news release from Ivey said.

“This morning, I signed a supplemental State of Emergency order to allow the Alabama Department of Revenue to extend state filings until July 15, 2020,” said Gov. Ivey. “It is imperative we reduce the burden upon Alabamians and get folks back on their feet financially. The safety and wellbeing of Alabamians is the paramount priority as we do everything within our power to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”

Other taxes included in the deadline extension are corporate income tax, the Financial Institution Excise Tax (FIET), and the Business Privilege Tax (BPT), according to the release.

“Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the Alabama Department of Revenue to qualify for this automatic state tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension through the usual methods,” the release reads.

EAMC

Update: Sunday, March 22, 6:15 p.m.

Health officials are asking residents to shelter in place at home, East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) said Sunday night. 

Sheltering in place means that residents should stay at home with immediate family members only. Residents should not leave their homes except for essential activities such as food, medical care or work, according to EAMC.

“You should not host gatherings of people outside of your immediate family,” a news release from EAMC reads. “You should also maintain a 6-foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces.”

EAMC is also advising businesses that are still able to be open to screen their employees before allowing them to enter.

If businesses are not able to check the temperature of their employees, EAMC provides the following questions to ask employees:

  1. Do you have a cough? 
  2. Are you having difficulty breathing? 
  3. Do you have muscle aches or body aches? 
  4. Do you feel like you have a fever?
  5. Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days? 
  6. Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days? 
  7. Do you feel sick in any way? 

If an employee answer yes to any of these symptoms, especially numbers 1-4, employers should strongly consider sending them back home and telling them to self-quarantine, EAMC said. 

Local cases

Update: Sunday, March 22, 4:33 p.m.

Two more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Lee County and another has been confirmed in Chambers County, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Sunday night.

There are 16 confirmed cases in Lee County and two in Chambers County.

The number of confirmed cases in Alabama also has risen to 157. No deaths have been reported.

Lee County had 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Chambers County had one confirmed case Saturday night, according to ADPH.

There were 131 confirmed cases in Alabama as of Saturday night. Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 71, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has the second most confirmed cases of any county in the state with 17 confirmed cases.

Madison County has 16 confirmed cases. Elmore County has six confirmed cases and Tuscaloosa County has seven confirmed cases, according to the health department. 

Montgomery and St. Clair counties have three confirmed cases each. 

Baldwin, Cullman, Lauderdale and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html.

Lee County cases

Update: Sunday, March 22, 9:41 a.m.

There are now 14 confirmed cases in Lee County, up from 12 confirmed cases Saturday night, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 138 confirmed cases in Alabama. No deaths have been reported.

Chambers County continues to have one confirmed case, according to ADPH.

The health department adds that 1,602 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Saturday. The number includes the number of patients that were tested by the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories.

The number of patients tested does not include tests from commercial laboratories, ADPH adds.

There were 131 confirmed cases in Alabama as of Saturday night. Jefferson County has the most confirmed cases with 61, according to ADPH.

Shelby County has the second most confirmed cases of any county in the state with 17 confirmed cases.

Madison County has 12 confirmed cases. Elmore County has six confirmed cases and Tuscaloosa County has seven confirmed cases each, according to the health department. 

Montgomery County has three confirmed cases.

Baldwin, Cullman, Lauderdale and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html.

State cases

Update: Saturday, March 21, 4:25 p.m. 

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee County remains the same despite numbers rising across the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 12 confirmed cases in Lee County and one confirmed case in Chambers County.

There are now 131 confirmed cases in Alabama. Jefferson County has the most of any county with 61 confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

The health department adds that 1,258 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Saturday. The number includes the number of patients that were tested by the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories.

The number of patients tested does not include tests from commercial laboratories, ADPH adds.

Lee County had 11 confirmed cases Friday night. There were 106 confirmed cases in Alabama as of Friday night. No deaths have been reported.

Shelby County has the second most confirmed cases of any county in the state with 16 confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Madison County has nine confirmed cases. Elmore and Tuscaloosa counties have six confirmed cases each, according to the health department. 

Montgomery County has three confirmed cases.

Baldwin, Cullman, Lauderdale and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Limestone, Marion, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

SBA loans

Update: Saturday, March 21, 3:40 p.m.

Small businesses in Alabama that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for assistance und the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Saturday. 

The program is aimed at helping qualified businesses and non-profit organization recover from economic losses tied to COVID-19. 

“Small businesses represent the backbone of Alabama’s economy, and many of them need immediate help in these trying times,” Ivey said in a release. “My team has worked closely with the SBA in recent days to make this economic assistance possible. We’re all grateful to President Trump and the SBA for responding rapidly to the problems faced by small businesses in Alabama.”

SBA's EIDL offers up to $2 million in assistance for an eligible small business. 

The loans are low-interest and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid due to the virus' impact. 

Businesses must qualify for EIDL assistance. For more information, go to the SBA’s COVID-19 disaster assistance web page.

Lee County cases

Update: Saturday, March 21, 10:25 a.m.

The twelfth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lee County while cases across the state continue to rise, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

There are 124 confirmed cases in the state with Jefferson County having nearly half of the confirmed cases with 60, according to ADPH.

Chambers County continues to have one confirmed case. Lee County had 11 confirmed cases Friday night.

There were 106 confirmed cases as of Friday night. No deaths have been reported.

Shelby County has the second most confirmed cases of any county in the state with 16 confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Elmore and Madison counties have six confirmed cases each and Tuscaloosa County has four confirmed cases. Montgomery County has three confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Cullman, and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Limestone, Marion, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn City Buildings Close 

Update: Friday, March 20, 5:25 p.m. 

The city of Auburn is following in Opelika’s footsteps and has decided to close all city buildings. 

A city of Auburn press release sent Friday afternoon said that the closure would begin at 5 p.m and the decision was made after Gov. Kay Ivey’s latest updates.  

“Water, sewer, public works, garbage collection and public safety services will all carry on as usual,” the release said. “City staff will continue to serve residents through all electronic means possible including online applications, email, social media and phone.”

Any city business that cannot be conducted electronically can be discussed with staff on the help line (334-501-7307), the release said. 

All city buildings will remain closed until April 5, at which time the city will evaluate the need to remain closed, the release added.

Lee County cases rise

Update: Friday, March 20, 4:53 p.m. 

Another case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lee County bringing the county’s total to 11, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

There are now 106 confirmed cases in the state with Jefferson County having nearly half of the confirmed cases with 50, according to ADPH. 

There were 81 confirmed cases as of Friday morning. No deaths have been reported.

Chambers County continues to have one confirmed case while Lee County has the second most confirmed cases by any county in the state.

Shelby County has 10 confirmed cases while Madison County has seven confirmed cases, according to ADPH.

Elmore County has six confirmed cases and Tuscaloosa County has four confirmed cases. Montgomery County has three confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin and Mobile counties have two confirmed cases each.

Calhoun, Cullman, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Limestone, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker and Washington counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn Public Library offers free resources

Update: Friday, March 20, 2:26 p.m.

The Auburn Public Library wants to help residents of Auburn practice social distancing and are offering free online resources during the coronavirus outbreak. 

These resources include eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines, videos a news sources and some video classes for learning, according to a Friday afternoon city of Auburn press release. 

All of the library’s online resources (https://www.auburnalabama.org/library/online-resources/) can be found with a library card. 

Any residents who don’t have a library card can sign up for one, however (https://books.auburnalabama.org/polaris/logon.aspx), the release added. 

Additionally, Auburn Public Library is offering a streaming video service, Kanopy (https://auburnalabama.kanopy.com/), for movies, documentaries and films. 

 There is a children’s section as well. Auburn residents will have 10 free credits per month, the release said.  

More books for children can be found at aTumbleBooks, which the Auburn public Library will now offer access to (https://www.tumblebooklibrary.com/). 

Auburn Public Library users will also be able to access unlimited resources from the Washington Post, the release said (subscribe.washingtonpost.com/specialoffer/#/offsite-access?promocode=o13_7daytset1). 

 Access to CloudLibrary (https://ebook.yourcloudlibrary.com/library/auburnAL/Featured ) and Flipster (https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?authtype=cpid&custid=s8456163&profile=eon&groupid=main ) for Auburn Public Library users will continue to be available. 

Auburn residents who may be feeling a little cooped up inside can find creative crafts and DIY videos at CreativeBug, another online resource for Auburn Public Library cardholders, the release added.

The videos for Creative Bug are available here: https://creativebug.com/lib/auburnalabama

Auburn Med Clinic Adjusts Hours 

Update: Friday, March 20, 1:55 p.m.

The Auburn University Medical Clinic shared on its Facebook page Friday morning that it will be shortening the hours it is open. 

The adjusted hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The major adjustment is that the Medical Clinic will now be closed both Saturday and Sunday. 

Auburn Housing Addresses Concerns

Update: Friday, March 20, 1:50 p.m.

Auburn University Housing shared a message with all students regarding move-out and refunds Friday afternoon following the Auburn University announcement to finish classes remotely. 

“In light of Auburn’s announcement to continue with remote instruction for the rest of the semester, we at AU Housing are working hard to develop an early move-out plan and will be in contact early next week regarding our plan of action,” the message on the Auburn University Housing Facebook page said.”

Parents and student will receive pro-rated refunds to campus dining plans and housing bills.  

“We recognize the frustrations and inconveniences the current situation may cause, and we appreciate your patience as we work through this unprecedented event,” the post added. “We have no higher priority than the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community.”

Importantly, the post reminded students not to return to campus for belongings until the University Housing reaches out directly.

“Please continue to check your AU email on a regular basis as this is how we will communicate any and all updates we will have,” the post finished.

Opelika City Buildings Close 

Update: Friday, March 20, 1:25 p.m.

The city of Opelika announced Friday afternoon that it will close all city buildings to the public starting 6 p.m. on Friday.  

Although city departments will still be operating remotely, the pubic will not be able to come into the buildings through April 5, the release said. 

“The city plans to maintain continuity of services during this timeframe,” the release said. “Essential services like police, fire, power, solid waste and waste water are prepared and taking measures to make sure staff are practicing safe social distancing. Other departments are still working to maintain all projects at the moment, but that is subject to change at any time.”

Necessary business can be conducted online, such as applications and renewals for business licenses, the release added. 

The Opelika Sportsplex, which had been continuing to operate, though with its basketball court closed, will now be freezing membership. 

Additionally, all parks and recreation events have been canceled, as well as the track and field season. 

The Lewis J. Cooper Memorial Library will waive late fees through April 6 to avoid crowds in the library. The release asked that patrons keep material at home until that time. 

“Many services, including digital books, digital audiobooks, digital magazines, database research and more can be accessed through the library's website:  www.cooperlibrary.com," the release said.  

Auburn University moving online for rest of semester

Update: Friday, March 20, 12:14 p.m.

Auburn University will finish the rest of the Spring 2020 semester online and is postponing its spring commencement, the university announced in an email to students.

Auburn University President Jay Gogue sent an email to Auburn students Friday afternoon announcing the change. 

“The decision to transition all instruction to remote delivery was made to uphold the safety for all and support our students as they continue their academic journey,” Gogue said in the email. “By reducing the number of individuals on campus, Auburn continues to promote as much social distancing as possible to help slow the spread of the virus.”

The university is working on a plan to provide prorated refunds for on-campus housing and dining plans. 

Students can expect to be contacted by University Housing if they need to retrieve belongings from campus residence halls. Students are urged to not return to campus until they receive additional information, said Auburn. 

Final decisions regarding summer classes, programs and events have not been determined yet. A decision is expected to be made soon, Auburn said. 

Spring graduates will receive additional information about alternate commencement plans in the coming days, Auburn said. 

“This was a very difficult decision made with careful thought and input from faculty, staff, and, most importantly, our students,” said Gogue about the postponement of commencement. “Graduation is one of the most important events in the lives of our students, and I look forward to celebrating their accomplishments at a future date.”

Despite the changes, Auburn will continue to conduct full university operations with the exceptions of remote instruction, on-campus student housing, on-campus dining, Auburn University Libraries and the Recreation and Wellness Center. 

Faculty and staff who can work remotely have been asked to do so, Auburn added. 

“The response of our campus community this week has been remarkable,” Gogue said. “Our students and faculty are embracing new approaches to teaching and learning while our staff is adjusting to a new form of work-life. One of the most extraordinary characteristics of the Auburn Family is our solidarity in times of crisis and need.”

The university continues to encourage those wanting more information about Auburn’s response to coronavirus to visit https://ocm.auburn.edu/news/coronavirus/ and sign up for ongoing email updates. 

Lee County Revenue office still open to public

Update: Friday, March 20, 12:11

Lee County Revenue Commissioner Online Price says all three of her offices - Smiths Station, Auburn and Lee County Courthouse - are still accepting customers; however, they are restricted to one person at a time (don't bring your kids). She said the May 6 tax sale is still on, too. 

Price also said that just about any business with her office, except new car registration, can be done via mail or online. March 31 deadlines have been pushed back to April 16, she said.

Opelika cancels planning meeting

Update: Friday, March 20, 12:07 p.m.

From city of Opelika spokeswoman Leigh Krehling:

"Due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Opelika is cancelling the March 24 Planning Commission meeting. We understand that this will impact applicants, property and business owners, developers and design professionals, but it is numerically impossible for us to hold this meeting after Gov. Kay Ivey implemented a recent public health order."

State cases rise

Update: Friday, March 20, 10 a.m.

There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lee or Chambers counties despite state cases rising to 81 confirmed cases, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Lee County still has 10 confirmed cases and Chambers County has one confirmed case.

There were 78 confirmed cases in the state as of Thursday night. No deaths have been reported, ADPH said.

Shelby County now has 10 confirmed cases. Lee and Shelby counties are tied for the second most confirmed cases by any county in the state.

Jefferson County has 36 confirmed cases. Elmore County and Madison County have five confirmed cases. 

Tuscaloosa County has four confirmed cases. Montgomery County has three confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Calhoun, Limestone, Mobile, St. Clair, Talladega and Walker counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Tax deadline

Update: Friday, March 20, 9:55 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Trump administration has decided to push the income tax filing date to July 15 from April 15.

Mnuchin announced the decision in a tweet Friday saying that at President Donald Trump’s direction “we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

The administration had announced earlier in the week that it would delay the payments, a move that Mnuchin said would leave $300 billion in the economy at a critical time.

Chambers County case

Update: Thursday, March 19, 6 p.m. 

The first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Chambers County presented to the Emergency Department at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) – Lanier a few days ago, the hospital announced.

The patient was screened outside and was mask was placed on them before being brought inside through a separate entrance for treatment and a specimen collection, EACM said.

“Proper infection prevention protocols were followed throughout, and the patient was discharged home and instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days,” EAMC said in a release.

State numbers

Update: Thursday, March 19, 4:15 p.m.

Lee County still has only 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Thursday afternoon.

Chambers County still has one confirmed case as well. Lee County has the second most of any county in the state. 

There are now 78 confirmed cases in Alabama, up from 68 this morning, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has 34 confirmed cases. No deaths have been reported. 

Shelby County has nine confirmed cases; while Elmore County and Madison County have five confirmed cases. 

Tuscaloosa County has four confirmed cases. Montgomery County has three confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Calhoun, Chambers, Limestone, Mobile, St. Clair, Talladega and Walker counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

ADOC employee

Update: Thursday, March 19, 4 p.m.

An administrative employee with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) tested positive for COVID-19, ADOC announced Thursday afternoon.

This is the first confirmed case within the ADOC; however, there are no positive COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon within the inmate populate.

“The ADOC has been actively preparing for the spread of COVID-19 throughout Alabama, which allowed us to quickly put in place necessary preventive measures and protocols to best protect our staff and inmate population,” said Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “Unfortunately, no one is immune to this virus. The physical state of our facilities and our crowded inmate populations are additional challenges we are working diligently to address as we navigate the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.

“The entire Department is focused on reducing the potential impact of this disease on our correctional system while maintaining critical operational, rehabilitative, health, and mental health services.”

All individuals within the department who have been in direct contact with the patient who tested positive are now in self-quarantine for a 14-day period. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) will monitor the people who are self- quarantining.

ADOC says it has the ability to test inmates within the facilities; however, testing will occur after the ADPH approves a physician’s order.

“System-wide preventative measures in place include temperature screening of all staff prior to entering the facilities, increased sanitization of facilities with CDC-recommended cleaning supplies, and the suspension of visitation, general legal visits, and work-release and work-center programs,” a release from ADOC reads. “The Department is also minimizing internal transfers of inmates on a case-by-case basis.”

Lee County Schools offer food 

Update: Thursday, March 19, 3:05 p.m. 

Lee County Schools shared on its Instagram Thursday afternoon that more organizations are finding ways to help the food insecure. 

"The Hudson Family Foundation (@HudsonFamilyFdn) has coordinated with Philadelphia Baptist Church in Smiths Station to provide Emergency Food Assistance to Lee County Families who need it," the post said. "Food will be distributed on Monday, March 23rd. Please follow this link to sign up to receive help if you need it http://bit.ly/3b9fsTp."

Statewide health order

Update: Thursday, March 19, 1:53 p.m.

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) issued a statewide health order Thursday in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

This includes the closure of Alabama beaches, preschools and childcare centers.

The following items will be enacted statewide through April 5:

  • All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
  • Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
  • All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
  • Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with: State and Local Governments, First Responders (including EMS and Fire Services), Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities), End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Centers, Pharmacies and grocery stores.
  • Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
  • All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.

“Despite our best efforts, the threat of the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and, unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact,” Ivey said in a statement. “The decision to place regulations upon Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties was an effort to contain the area in which the virus has been prevalent in our state.”

“In addition, we rely heavily upon our first responders and critical healthcare workers to help those who are ill, as well as essential state government employees to keep the continuity of government, and many of them struggle with dependent childcare if daycares close. As a result, I have asked the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Public Health to explore emergency rulemaking to make critical exemptions to allow for daycare to be provided for these areas of crucial personnel.”

Public Service Announcements coming

Update: Thursday, March 19, 12:45 p.m.

Local radio stations are teaming up with the city of Opelika to share the latest coronavirus news and advice.

Mayor Gary Fuller said WKKR, WMXA, WZMG and WTLM have all agreed to start running Public Service Announcements (PSA) from the city. Topics to be covered include tips about how to interact with city employees, the availability of city services and facilities and how to pay utility bills, as well as tips for combating the spread of COVID-19. 

Auburn Public Library

Update: Thursday, March 19, 11:38 a.m.

The Auburn Public Library has decided to stop patrons borrowing and returning physical items to help curb the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. 

The new rule will go into place Thursday, according to a city of Auburn release Thursday. morning. 

“Additionally, the library will suspend any due dates through April 10 for items currently borrowed, allowing patrons to keep them for longer, especially if they are practicing social distancing or self-quarantine,” the release said. 

The Auburn Public Library will still be open, however. 

“In keeping with social distancing guidelines put forth by public health professionals, the library will provide empty spaces between public computers, and the library will continue to follow and expand upon existing procedures for cleaning and sanitizing the facility,” the release said. 

Residents with library cards can find online resources at auburnalabama.org/library/online-resources. And any residents without a card can sign up for one at books.auburnalabama.org/POLARIS/logon.aspx

Opelika Power to offer temporary grace period

Update: Thursday, March 19, 11:25 a.m.

Opelika Power Services (OPS) announced via press release Thursday that it will continue to bill on schedule each month and payment is due as normal.

If payment is not received by the delinquent date, a late fee will be added; however, OPS will not charge a non-payment fee nor will OPS disconnect power if not paid by the disconnect date, according to the release.

This temporary policy runs through April 14, when it will be reevaluated. Call OPS at (334) 705-5170 for more information.

Publix designates hours for senior shoppers

Update: Thursday, March 19, 11:20 a.m.

Publix announced it is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m – 8 a.m. as senior shopping hours for customers ages 65 and over. This change will begin Tuesday, March 24, and will continue until further notice.

The grocery store’s pharmacy will also be open at 7 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesday s to serve the senior population.

Winn-Dixie to hire workers displaced by coronavirus closures

Update: Thursday, March 19, 10:45 a.m.

Winn-Dixie has announced it will be looking to hire people whose working hours have been affected by mandated store and restaurant closures. Additionally, the grocery store is offering seniors and high-risk customers the chance to shop from 8 a.m.-9 a.m. Monday through Friday. It is asking other customers to respect this time.

Winn-Dixie’s parent company, Southeastern Grocers, will be hiring throughout the Southeast. Those interested can visit www.segrocers.com/careers.

Lee County cases rise, Chambers' first case

Update: Thursday, March 19, 9:55 a.m. 

Two more cases of coronavirus COVID-19 have been confirmed in Lee County and the first case has been confirmed in Chambers County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). 

Lee County now has 10 confirmed cases, the second most of any county in the state. The county had eight confirmed cases as of Wednesday night.

There are now 68 confirmed cases in Alabama, up from the 51 confirmed cases as of Wednesday night, according to ADPH. 

Jefferson County has 31 confirmed cases. No deaths have been reported. 

Shelby County has eight confirmed cases; while Elmore County has five confirmed cases. 

Tuscaloosa County has four confirmed cases. Montgomery County has two confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Calhoun, Chambers, Limestone, Madison, St. Clair, Talladega and Walker counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Gulf Shores beaches

Update: Thursday, March 19, 9:10 a.m.

Gulf Shores is officially closing its beaches, making it one of the first to do so in Alabama.

The city announced Thursday that effective 7 a.m. Friday all public beaches in Gulf Shores will close with a tentative reopen date of April 6.

The city is also requesting the Baldwin County Commission, town of Dauphin Island and city of Orange Beach join us in asking Gov. Kay Ivey to close all Alabama beaches for the same time frame.

Walmart changes hours

Update: Thursday, March 19, 7:40 a.m.

Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets are changing their hours and adding a special shopping hour for shoppers who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Stores will begin operating from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours, Walmart said.

Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday from March 24 through April 28 for customers aged 60 and older.

The event will start one hour before the store opens, said Walmart.

Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers Offers Curbside

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 8:45 p.m.

Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers shared on its Facebook Wednesday that it will only be offering curbside pickup from now on. 

The instructions say to first call the store (334-246-3003) and pay for the order, then pull up to the curb. 

Orders can still be placed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the booksellers said. The stores coffee selections will also be available. 

“We’re also trying to get creative,” the post said. “There’s nothing we love so much as a challenge, and we believe books are part of how we can all make it through social distancing without become distant in our hearts and minds.”

Southern Union says 2 students have been infected

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 p.m.

Two Southern Union State Community College students have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently quarantined and receiving medical treatment in accordance with public health protocol, the college revealed in a Wednesday press release.

"Out of an abundance of caution and in our efforts to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we will be notifying the instructor and all students in the students’ classes. To the extent possible these individuals will be asked to self-quarantine for the next 14 days," according to Southern Union spokeswoman Shondae Brown.

The press release goes on to promise that Southern Union officials will take "...additional steps to attempt to ensure the cleanliness or all of our facilities. While we hope and pray this will be the only positive tests for COVID-19 within our College community, in the event there are others of which we become aware, we will use our best efforts to notify those we are able to determine have had contact with that individual so they may take."

No more EAMC visitors

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 p.m

East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) announced Wednesday that beginning Thursday morning it is beginning a ‘no visitors’ policy.

There are exceptions to the policy. The exceptions are as follows:

  • Two primary caregivers for pediatrics
  • One primary support person for laboring women
  • One visitor in the emergency department lobby for the emergency department
  • End-of-life circumstance.

If the attending physician or nurse manager determines that a support person is needed, the family will be contacted to make such arrangements, EAMC said.

“This temporary change is not a step we wanted to make,” said Laura Grill, President and CEO.  “However, with Lee County now having the second most COVID-19 cases in Alabama, we feel that it is extremely important to use this tactic to help flatten the curve of cases.”

SkyBar closes

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 5 p.m.

SkyBar, which fell under community backlash after a video surfaced of its workers taking temperatures of its patrons at the entrance Tuesday night, announced it would be suspending its operations Wednesday.

“Never in our wildest imagination did we think this pandemic could reach and affect almost every person worldwide, but, unfortunately, it has,” SkyBar said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to listen and follow the warnings and advice of our government agencies and local officials.”

Lee County cases

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 4:15 p.m.

An eighth case of coronavirus COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lee County, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon.

There are now 51 confirmed cases in Alabama.

Lee County had seven confirmed cases Wednesday morning and three confirmed cases Tuesday evening.

Jefferson County has 25 confirmed cases.

No deaths have been reported. There were 39 confirmed virus cases as of Tuesday night in Alabama.

Shelby County and Elmore County have four confirmed cases each. Tuscaloosa County has three confirmed cases. Montgomery County each have two confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Calhoun, Limestone, Madison and Str. Clair counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Dream Center to hand out meal boxes Friday

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 2:45 p.m.

"In partnership with the Auburn Dream Center and with the generous support of our community, Auburn City Schools is assisting with the provision of family meal boxes to those in need," ACS Superintendent Cristen Herring, has announced.

Arrangements have been made using an online reservation system. Many ACS families received correspondence Monday from Dr. Ashley Powell, Director of Child Nutrition. Respondents have scheduled a pickup time on Friday, March 20.  Families will receive a combination of ready-to-eat items and products that may be prepared at home.

Opelika emergency order in effect Thursday

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 1:35 p.m.

Opelika city officials expect to have a State of Emergency order in place Thursday morning, giving Mayor Gary Fuller wide discretion in running the city during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Opelika City Council approved the move Tuesday night, doing a first reading and suspending the rules to move the measure to second reading, according to Clerk/Treasurer Russell Jones. The law goes into effect Thursday when it's published - see Thursday's Classifieds section of the Opelika-Auburn News.

Frank Brown Recreation and Boykin close basketball courts 

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 1:30 p.m. 

Frank Brown Recreation Center and Boykin Community Center are closing their basketball courts until at least March 28, according to the city of Auburn. 

"The courts are being closed to ensure social distancing to help minimize the exposure to and transmission of COVID-19," the city announced in its release. 

Alabama Power phone scam

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 1:20 p.m.

Alabama Power released a statement Wednesday warning customers of a phone call scam in which someone claiming to be a representative of the company requests immediate payment on accounts.

The company warned that in some instances the scammers have altered a customer’s called ID, which falsely reads “Alabama Power Company.”

“The No. 1 tip we tell customers is if anyone calls you directly and claims to be with Alabama Power, hang up and call our Customer Service line at 800-245-2244,” said Alisa Summerville, Alabama Power customer services center director. “This small step can save a customer from making a false payment. We are happy to talk the situation through with them so they are confident in their account status and our process.”

Additionally, Alabama Power stressed to customers that:

  • it will never come to your door and demand an immediate payment.
  • it will never call you and ask you over the phone for bank information or a credit card number.
  • any employee who comes to your door for any reason will have company identification that he or she will gladly show.
  • they should not provide credit card information, bill information, account number or any personal banking information to someone claiming they represent a public agency or government office offering grants that can pay your Alabama Power or other utility bill. If someone makes this claim, call Alabama or your local police department to report it.

For further questions, contact Alabama Power's customer service at 800-245-2244 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday-Friday. The company’s automated voice system at 800-245-2244 is available to check account balances 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bars closing

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 12:50 p.m.

Jon Hyink, owner of Auburn bars 17-16 and Southeastern, is suspending operations at both places due to the coronavirus. 

"The health, safety, and welfare of not only our staff but our customers is paramount to us," Hyink's statement reads. "We have made the decision to suspend operations of our businesses effective immediately to shift our focus to fighting this evolving crisis."

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Lee County EMA Updates App

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 12:35 p.m.

Lee County Emergency Management Agency has updated its app to include up to date coronavirus COVID-19 information. 

To find the app search Lee County Emergency Management Agency, the agency said in a Facebook post Tuesday evening. 

The app includes a COVID-19 feature with several tabs, including COVID-19 articles, COVID-19 Local News, What you should know, CDC Travel Notices and more. 

Additionally, the app includes a notification system, the Facebook post shared. 

Opelika Main Street postpones event 

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 11:30 a.m.

Opelika Main Street shared on its twitter Wednesday morning that the Opelika Songwriters Festival has been postponed. 

The festival will now be held Sept. 18-20. The tweet also said that Opelika Main Street will provide more updates in the future. 

Primary election runoff moved

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 10:24 a.m.

The primary runoff election is being postponed until July in Alabama due to the coronavirus. 

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that the election will be moved to July 14, 2020. 

The election was originally scheduled to be held March 31. 

Lee County cases

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 10:07 a.m.

The confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 doubled overnight in Lee County. There are now seven confirmed cases in the county, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Wednesday morning.

There were three confirmed cases as of Tuesday night in Lee County. There are 46 confirmed cases in the state, according to ADPH.

Jefferson County has 23 confirmed cases.

No deaths have been reported. There were 39 confirmed virus cases as of Tuesday night in Alabama.

Shelby County has four confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has three confirmed cases. Elmore and Montgomery counties each have two confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Calhoun, Limestone, Madison and Str. Clair counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Performances canceled

Update: Wednesday, March 18, 9:25 a.m.

The Choir of Men performance at East Alabama Arts has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

The performance was scheduled for April 2. 

Auburn state of emergency 

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 9:15 p.m.

The Auburn City Council declared a state of emergency Tuesday night in response to increasing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re in an unprecedented time in our community,” said Mayor Ron Anders.

The state of emergency, approved during a regularly scheduled council meeting, will give the city the more flexibility in handling during the spread of the coronavirus, Anders said.

Decisions such as potentially putting a public safety curfew in place or canceling city meetings will be easier, said City Manager Jim Buston.

“I want to let our citizens know … your staff and your city is meeting every day, as many times as it takes to try to make sure that we’re doing all that we need to do to provide, to make your life safe and to be doing the kinds of things that puts Auburn in the best position to be successful and to get through this situation,” Anders said.

It allows the city to waive certain rules guidelines involving performance of public work, entering into contracts, incurring obligations, employing temporary workers or hiring volunteers. There is also the option of foregoing rules for equipment rentals, supplying necessary materials or facilities, imposing a public safety curfew or to close any public buildings under control of the city.

Buston and Anders will more discretion to act without the usual limits on their jobs during the emergency as well. The measure was proposed during the committee of the whole before the regular business meeting, and council members were each given time to read the resolution before it was voted on.

Target hours

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 6:50 p.m.

Target has announced it will be closing at 9 p.m. each day and that it will be reserving an hour of shopping each Wednesday for those most susceptible to COVID-19.

Target said that at all locations the first hour of shopping each Wednesday will be reserved for vulnerable guests including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.

The local Target is located in Tiger Town in Opelika.

The chain says that closing at 9 p.m. will give staffers more time to replenish shelves and deeply clean stores.

It also claims to be fast-tracking the flow of high-demand products like food, medicine and other essentials while maintaining sale limitations on in-demand items.​

Restaurants closing dining rooms

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 6:10 p.m.

Several Lee County restaurants joined together to close their dining rooms and instead will offer to-go orders only due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Acre, Bow & Arrow, The Hound, Amsterdam Cafe, Zazu Gastropub and Lucy's announced on social media Wednesday that they will be closing their dining rooms until further notice.

"That sentence is something that I never thought I'd have to write or say," David Bancroft, owner of Acre and Bow & Arrow, wrote in an Instagram post. "My 'what if’s' are now 'even if's."

"We as a collection of chefs and restauranteurs in the Lee County community have agreed to temporarily suspend on premise dining in our restaurants to protect our team members and local families," Lucy's wrote on Instagram.

Acre is working on an online ordering platform but will take orders over the phone for curbside pickup beginning Wednesday. Acre will have a new streamlined menu of its favorites available.

It is also working on a delivery option, Bancroft wrote.

Bow & Arrow is available to order online through its website or its app and can be picked up in the drive-thru.

The Hound is offering mobile ordering and curbside pickup. The restaurant is looking into starting delivery options soon.

Amsterdam Café is offering curbside pickup beginning Tuesday night. Customers can order and pay online or call in.

Zazu will not be offering curbside takeout as of Tuesday, however, the restaurant plans to announce changes on its Instagram. 

Lucy's will offer online or call ahead ordering for curbside pick-up or takeaway.

"We also just found out that Alabama has relaxed some ABC liquor laws and we can sell cocktails to go in sealed containers," Lucy's wrote.

Lucy's also is offering bottles of wine at reduced prices to-go.

Auburn University pay

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 6:20 p.m.

Auburn University Human Resources sent an email to its employees Tuesday afternoon sharing that all employees would be paid, even if they cannot come into work. 

Last week Auburn University said that it would be moving to remote education and all employees that could, should work remotely. 

“At this time, the University continues to conduct full university operations,” the email said. “Supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as possible to help minimize the spread of illness.”

The email said that Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University, said all employees would be paid, however, even if they cannot preform their duties remotely or come into work. 

Administrative/Professional and Faculty (Exempt) Employees that work full time were guaranteed pay for 40 hours. Part-time employees will be paid based on FTE, the email said. 

University Staff (non-exempt) were guaranteed 40 hours and any overtime. 

Part time staffers would be guaranteed pay as well, using an average of the hours the staff member worked form Jan. 5 to Feb. 29. 

Temporary Employment Services and student employees would also be paid using an average of their worked hours from Jan. 5 to Feb. 29. 

All staff employees that use the Kronos system should continue to do so, the email said, so that hours will be properly tracked. 

“We will evaluate employment options beyond spring term based on information at this time,” the email said.

ALEA 

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 6:25 p.m.

State suspends driver’s license testing, encourages online renewals

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has suspended road testing for driver’s licenses, opened curb-side check-in at locations, and is encouraging online or by-phone renewals of driver’s licenses after changes made to state-wide operations in response to the spread of COVID-19.

ALEA in its release announcing the changes also reminds those with expiring Alabama driver’s licenses that the state affords them a 60-day grace period after expiration and says that drivers can wait to renew.

The ALEA discourages anyone with weakened or compromised immune systems from visiting any driver’s license renewal location, and says that online services are available for anyone needing to renew a driver’s license or STAR ID or non-driver ID. For those needing to make the trip, curb-side check-in and screening has begun and ALEA asks those going to follow instructions posted outside each location and wait in their vehicles to reduce possible exposures.

The ALEA can be found on the web at alea.gov. The Opelika location’s phone number is 334-737-1665.

Macon County to start testing

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 4:38 p.m.

Macon County heath officials announced Tuesday that they are expecting the first shipment of COVID-19 test supplies within the next 3 days.

Details on testing will be revealed at a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Tuskegee Medical Surgical Center, 301 Wright St. in Tuskegee. 

Public inquiries concerning COVID-19 should be directed to the Alabama Department of Public Health at 888-264-2256.

Archdiocese of Mobile cancels mass

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 4:37 p.m. 

The Archdiocese of Mobile is ordering all public masses in the archdiocese to be canceled through and including Palm Sunday, April 5. according to St. Michael Parish in Auburn.

The order include the following points:

  • All public Masses are hereby cancelled through and including Palm Sunday, but may be extended depending on future developments.
  • Funerals with or without Mass, will not be celebrated in churches or any other location. Only graveside services are permitted.
  • Weddings, only without Mass, may be conducted in a church building solely with a cleric, bride, groom, two witnesses and parents of the bride and groom present. No one else may be present.
  • Baptisms may be celebrated but with only parents, godparents and one cleric.
  • Anointing of the Sick is to continue. This sacrament is administered by the priest. Parishioners should reach out to Fr. Farmer at mfarmer@mobarch.org.
  • Clergy may continue to bring communion to the sick. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may no longer do so except in cases where it is done by a member of the immediate family and with permission granted by the Pastor.
  • Confessions will continue but with only a screen between the priest and the penitent or with a minimum of six feet of space between the priest and the penitent.

St. Michael’s added that it also will not host any public gatherings including religious education, RCI, bible studies, etc.

“Some of our ministries will continue to provide food, from food pantries or kitchens, only on a take-out basis,” a statement from St. Michael’s reads.

St. Michael’s church and Frassati chapel will remain open most days for people to come and pray; however, they must maintain social distancing.

Confessions will continue to be heard Monday – Friday from 5 – 6 p.m. Confession also will be available Saturday from 8 – 9 a.m.

St. Michael’s says its looking to see if it can possibly televise its private Mass on a daily basis.

Updates and changes will be posted on the church’s website, www.stmichaelsauburn.com

Kroger Updates Hours 

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 4:20 p.m.:

Kroger has decided to change its hours to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. though it has stressed this is not due to problems with supply chain. 

A press release sent Tuesday afternoon shared that the hours will take effect starting today. 

"As of Monday, we were hoping to maintain current store hours. However, this temporary adjustment is necessary to allow our store teams time to train new associates, while focusing on additional cleaning as well as stocking our fresh, affordable food and essentials,” said Felix Turner, manager of corporate affairs for Kroger’s Atlanta Division.

The decision was made by Kroger’s Atlanta Division according to the release, so affected branches will include stores  in Georgia, East Alabama and South Carolina, the release added. 

Hiring is underway, however, the release said. 

"Kroger stores in Georgia, Eastern Alabama and South Carolina continue to escalate hiring and those in industries hardest hit by COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for open positions at jobs.kroger.com," the release said. 

Opelika update

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 3:50 p.m.: 

Opelika Power Services will close its lobby and take payments only at its drive-thru window, the city of Opelika announced Tuesday.

All other buildings and departments will continue to provide services as normal until further notice. The city also is sanitizing doors, countertops and public facilities, the city added.

“We are not taking the COVID-19 situation lightly,” said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller. “We are working to limit employee exposure by decreasing in-person meetings when possible. We would also like to ask that if you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, that you please do not enter city buildings.”

The city is allowing several employees with immune compromising issues to start working from home.

Other city departments and events that have been closed/cancelled include:

  • Opelika Parks and Recreation games, classes, activities and programs until re-evaluation on March 27, 2020. This includes all practices, games, group fitness classes and swim lessons.   The Opelika Sportsplex will remain open, but the SportsPlex basketball gym and pool, Denson Drive Recreation Center and Covington Recreation Center will be closed until re-evaluation on March 27, 2020. The Covington preschool will remain open until further notice. 
  • Opelika Sportsplex employees have developed several virtual group fitness videos that are posted on the Sportsplex Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. We encourage you to continue your workout routine at home.
  • Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library will maintain regular hours and is open for materials checkout and computer use. Cooper Library has cancelled all events and activities, including scheduled offsite programming, for the next two weeks. As always, our digital resources are available to use anytime at www.cooperlibrary.com.
  • All community census events have been postponed until further notice. However, we ask that you still fill out your census online, by phone or via paper when it comes in your mailbox.

Lee County cases

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 3:35 p.m.:

Two more coronavirus COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Lee County, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). 

There are now three cases in Lee County and 39 in Alabama, according to ADPH. 

There are 21 confirmed cases in Jefferson County. 

No deaths have been reported. There were 29 virus cases as of Monday night.

Shelby County has four confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has three confirmed cases. Elmore and Montgomery counties each have two confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Madison, St. Clair, and Limestone counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

SEC cancels rest of 2019-20 athletic year

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 2:05 p.m.:

The Southeastern Conference has officially called off the rest of the 2019-2020 athletic year, ending the season for Auburn’s teams playing spring sports.

The move was inevitable. The NCAA had already called off all national championship events and the Big 12 and Pac 12 had already made a similar announcement last weekend.

Previously, the SEC had only announced postponements amid growing concerns over COVID-19.

“The SEC has announced all regular season conference and non-conference competitions are cancelled for remainder of the 2019-20 athletic year,” the SEC posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

Auburn baseball and softball are among the teams that have had their seasons cancelled, along with Auburn football’s spring practices and annual spring game.​

New restrictions for Jefferson, surrounding counties

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 12:10 p.m.

State of Alabama has ordered the closure of day care and senior centers in Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Shelby counties and told restaurants in those counties to end on-site dining for the next week, according to AP.

Virus cases rise

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m.:

There now are 36 confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Alabama, Scott Harris, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) State Health Officer, said during a Tuesday morning news conference. 

There are 20 confirmed cases in Jefferson County. 

No deaths have been reported. There were 29 virus cases as of Monday night.

Shelby County has four confirmed cases. Tuscaloosa County has three confirmed cases. Elmore and Montgomery counties each have two confirmed virus cases, according to the health department.

Lee, Baldwin, Madison, St. Clair, and Limestone counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

ABC stores closing

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 9:34 a.m.:

ABC Stores is closing 78 of its stores in Alabama, including its two Opelika locations and its store in LaFayette. The Opelika stores are located at 1945 Opelika Rd. and 3051 Frederick Rd., while the LaFayette location is at 15173 US Highway 431.

“After further consultation today with Governor Ivey's staff, ABC Board executive staff, health experts and others, we have decided to implement some operational changes that will provide better safety measures for our store and warehouse employees, patrons, licensees and the general public,” Dean Argo, ABC Board manager of government relations & communications, said in a statement.

The stores that are scheduled to close will be closing at the end of the business day Tuesday. The personnel at those stores will temporarily be re-assigned to other open ABC stores in their area, Argo added.

“We believe that closing some of our stores will provide the greatest amount of employee/customer protection, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency,” said Argo.

All ABC stores that remain open will be open from Noon until 7 p.m., except for wholesale-only stores, whose hours will remain the same.

Other operational changes specifically for patron and employee safety:

  • Beginning Wednesday, all stores will operate as "over the counter" stores in order to keep as much distance between patrons and store personnel as possible. In an effort to reduce exposure we are limiting the number of customers allowed in the store to a maximum of 5 at any given time. 
  • Customers will not be allowed to pull their own product. Store personnel will ask customers for their order, retrieve the product(s), and bring the item(s) to the counter for check out.
  • Customers are asked to pay for their purchase with a credit card, if possible. If cash must be used, customers should place the requested amount on the counter and store personnel will return their change in the same manner.
  • Employees will be required to wear gloves. Masks are optional, at this time.

You can visit ABC Board website, www.alabcboard.gov, for store location and operational updates.

Opelika schools to offer free meals for kids

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 9:00 a.m.:

Opelika High School and Carver Primary School will be serving meals Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. beginning Monday, March 23, school spokeswoman Becky Brown announced.

The meals will be provided for free to anyone 18 years old or younger regardless of which school they attend. No paperwork is required. Children must be present in order to receive the meal.

The schools will be set up for pick-up service only, as no meals will be consumed on site.

McDonald's

Update: Tuesday, March 17, 6:42 a.m.:

McDonald's is closing its seating areas, including the use of self-service beverage bars and kiosks, at its company-owned restaurants in the United States in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. 

The restaurants will be focusing on serving customers through the drive-thru, walk-in take-out and McDelivery, the company said. 

"This decision allows for customers without access to a Drive-Thru and those unable to use McDelivery to continue to have access to McDonald's," McDonald's said in a news release. 

All PlayPlaces at McDonald's location in the United States also are closed. 

"If customers have questions about the status of their local McDonald’s, they are encouraged to contact their local restaurant," the release reads. "We believe this temporary change is the right decision for our consumers, our communities, and our business and will continue to evaluate our operations as the situation evolves."

Drive-thru testing

Update: Monday, March 16, 6:22 p.m.:

East Alabama Medical Center opened a drive-thru testing center Monday to test patients for coronavirus COVID-19. 

The testing facility is by appointment only and is located at the former location of Health Plus Fitness Center. 

The hospital asks that anyone showing symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, to call 528-SICK.

More information about the testing center can be found in Tuesday's edition of the Opelika-Auburn News. 

Auburn Municipal Court Suspended 

Update: Monday, March 16, 4:55 p.m.:

Auburn Municipal Court Proceedings have been suspended until April 16, following an order from the Alabama Supreme Court.

"The order was issued in response to recommendations of the CDC and other government entities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said an city of Auburn release sent Monday afternoon. "The order applies to all in-court proceedings with the exception of bond hearings, police emergencies and anything deemed an emergency by the Auburn Municipal Court judge."

Auburn also asked citizens to conduct business online, such as paying parking tickets or traffic citations. 

"Updated court notices will be resent via mail to individuals' last know addresses," the release added. "A list of rescheduled court dates is available at auburnalabama.org/court."

Virus cases rise

Update: Monday, March 16, 4:36 p.m.:

There now are 29 confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

A Montgomery County resident tested positive for the virus. This is the second case in Montgomery County.

There were 22 virus cases as of Monday morning.

Jefferson County has the most cases with 17 confirmed coronavirus cases. Tuscaloosa County and Shelby County have three confirmed cases each, according to the health department.

Lee, Baldwin, Elmore, and Limestone counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn University asks students to stay off campus

Update: Monday, March 16, 4:30 p.m.:

Auburn University Student Affairs sent an email to students Monday afternoon asking that they not come to campus.

"We ask that no students come to campus during this time, including congregating on Samford Lawn and other green spaces on campus," said Bobby Woodard.

The email also asked students to practice social distancing of at least six feet and wash hands regularly. 

Lee County Commission Calls Special Meeting

Update: Monday, March 16, 4:25 p.m.:

Lee County Commission has called for a special session Tuesday at 5 p.m. to discuss the coronavirus COVID-19. 

"The purpose of the emergency meeting is to discuss the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic’s effect on Lee County operations and suggested temporary policy changes related to our employees," said Judge Bill English in a letter calling for the session. "The agenda for the emergency meeting of the Commission will consist solely of determining whether to make any temporary policy changes to Lee County policies and procedures."

Acre Offering Curbside

Update: Monday, March 16, 3:55 p.m.:

Another local business, Acre, has announced it will offer curb-side pickup.

Acre shared the news on its Instagram Monday afternoon that lunch and dinner will be available to-go.

Lunch is available for curb-side pick up from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

"Please call (334) 246-3763 and press '1' to speak with a host and place your order," the post added. "We will provide you with an estimate pickup time and instructions on where to park. Thank you for supporting our team during this time."

Local Businesses Affected

Update: Monday, March 16, 3:22 p.m.:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is closing its dining room, the company announced Monday. 

All ordered items will be packed as carryout. The restaurant is still open for online ordering and delivery, said the company.  

Update: Monday, March 16, 2:55 p.m.:

The Bean announced on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon that it has decided to close for the week. 

“The safety and well being of our employees and customers is the utmost importance to us, and we do not feel that providing a space that goes against the protocol of social distancing is truly loving our neighbors well and could potentially put others at risk,” the post read. “Waiting for testing to increase and for more cases to pop up to make this call will only make the community fall behind. So we are trying to get ahead of COVID-19 and take care of our community and customers.”

The Bean said it would reevaluate the situation in a week to determine if it should stay closed or re-open.  

“Thank you for understanding,” the post said. “Thank you for supporting us this past year as we’ve walked through big changes before. Our response is not out of fear, but out of faith and hope that this will have a ripple effect of loving our neighbors well by practicing social distancing. Stay at home and make a difference.”

Another Auburn restaurant, Fratelli's Ristorante Italiano, has decided to operate by curbside pickup only. 

The business announced on its Facebook Monday morning that all orders would be to-go and brought to the customer's car. 

Additionally, the business is extending the military discount to medical personnel and first responders to 50% off orders. 

"We love you all," the post said. "We love you all so much that is better we don’t see each other for a while. We are operating in the safest and responsible way we can."

Auburn University Parking

Update: Monday, March 16, 2:40 p.m.:

Auburn University Transportation Services shared on its Facebook Monday afternoon that there will be lots available for parking. 

"'C & PC lots are available for utilization until regular campus activities resume," the post read. "Please note that faculty & staff may still be accessing campus therefore A & B zones are unavailable at this time."

Opelika Municipal Court

Update: Monday, March 16, 1:50 p.m.

The Opelika Municipal Court issued an emergency order outlining court procedures, the city of Opelika announced Monday afternoon.

The order remains in effect until April 16 or until the Supreme Court of Alabama issues further orders related to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Normal operations of the municipal court will continue, except in-person hearings, the city said.

The court will reschedule all non-jail hearings previously scheduled between March 16 and April 16.

Only inmates who have not made bond will appear in court on their regularly scheduled date, but will keep the number of people in court at a minimum during this order, the city said.

“There will be a court employee available on regularly scheduled dates issuing continuance letters and to have defendants and subpoenaed witnesses sign an acknowledgement to return to court at a future dates.”

The full order can be seen below.

Confirmed virus cases rise

Update: Monday, March 16, 1:36 p.m.:

There now are 28 confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

There were 22 virus cases as of Monday morning.

Jefferson County has the most cases with 17 confirmed coronavirus cases. Tuscaloosa County and Shelby County have three confirmed cases each, according to the health department.

Lee, Baldwin, Elmore, Limestone and Montgomery counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Auburn Parks and Rec cancels events, closes centers 

Update: Monday, March 16, 11:18 a.m.:

Auburn Parks and Recreation and Auburn Police Library program and events are canceled through at least Saturday, March 28, in response to the coronavirus COVID-19.

All indoor recreation facilities in Auburn are closed, and all recreation programs and reservations have been canceled.

The following facilities are included in the closure:

  • Boykin Community Center
  • Dean Road Recreation Center
  • Frank Brown Recreation Center
  • Dean Road Recreation Center
  • Harris Center
  • Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center

The fitness centers at Frank Brown and Boykin have closed as well as the gyms at Frank Brown, Boykin and Dean Road and the auditorium at Boykin.

The ceramics studio at Dean Road is also closed. All spring sports are delayed through March 28.

All Auburn Public Library programs and events have also been canceled through March 28. This includes all storytimes, Gamer’s Society, Show and Tell Book Club and the author visit with Patti Callahan Henry, the city said.

Library patrons are encouraged to utilize the library’s online resources.

First Lee County virus case

Update: Monday, March 16, 10:12 a.m.:

An employee at East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) is the first confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 case in Lee County, the hospital announced.

“While EAMC has done everything possible to help prevent the spread of the virus in our region, we also believed that it was a matter of time as the virus made its way across America,” EAMC said in a statement.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) announced Sunday night the first confirmed case of the virus in Lee County. Alabama has 22 confirmed virus cases, with Jefferson County having the most confirmed cases with 12.

The Lee County patient’s symptoms are mild, and the employee had not traveled outside of Lee County prior to the symptoms “making this what is considered ‘community transmission’ of the virus,” EAMC said.

The employee made a doctor’s appointment once they began showing symptoms. A COVID-19 specimen was collected during the appointment and was submitted for testing, EAMC said.

The employee is quarantined at home, the hospital added.

EAMC has cancelled most elective procedures in response to the confirmed virus case. The hospital is also taking all extra precautions in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, the statement said.

“In addition, we have implemented a plan to perform deep cleaning in all patient care areas,” EAMC said. “Employees are actively practicing meticulous infection control and the use of personal protective equipment.”

The hospital is closely monitoring all patients, visitors and employees and is taking every precaution to minimize the spread of the virus.

EAMC reminds the community to wash hands and do not go to work, school or public areas if showing any signs of illness or not feeling well.

The hospital asks that anyone showing symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, to call 334-528-SICK.

Opelika City Schools

Update: Monday, March 16, 9:51 a.m.:

Opelika City Schools is planning on providing breakfast and lunch to students in the weeks following the school system’s spring break, Becky Brown, public relations coordinator for Opelika City Schools, told the Opelika-Auburn News. 

Administrators are coordinating locations and times for students to receive their meals.

A formal announcement will be made once all details are set.

Meals will not be served this week, due to spring break; though they should begin the week of March 23, Brown added. 

Chick-fil-A & Starbucks

Update: Monday, March 16, 9:50 a.m.:

Chick-fil-A is temporarily closing its dining room seating while Starbucks is temporarily changing to a ‘to go’ model in response to the coronavirus, COVID-19.  

“Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of everyone who comes into our restaurants. As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact,” the restaurant said in a statement.

“Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options. Thanks for your patience. We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.”

Starbucks transitioned to a 'to go' model Sunday in all company-owned stores in the United States and Canada for at least two weeks.

“As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada.

Here’s what customers can expect, Starbucks said in a release:

  • We are pausing the use of all seating, including both the café and patio areas
  • Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the “order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app, via the drive thru and use delivery
  • We will have a modified condiment bar in all stores
  • You may see modified “order ahead” handoff areas on a store-by-store basis
  • Temporary closures for company-owned stores in high-social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses
  • Temporary store closures or reduced operating hours in communities with high clusters of COVID – 19 cases 

ADPH guidelines

Update: Monday, March 16, 9:20 a.m.:

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) released new recommendations regarding public gatherings in response to the coronavirus COVID-19.

ADPH is making the following recommendations concerning public gathers, food establishment and other retail venues and businesses:

  • No mass gatherings of 50 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between participants (with exceptions noted below). This may include festivals, parades, assemblies, or sporting events.  
  • Senior adults or those with chronic health problems should avoid gatherings (outside of close family) of 10 or more persons, and should avoid travel by air, train or bus.
  • For retail business, including restaurants, limit patronage at any one time to 50 percent of the normally allowable capacity.  Restaurants should maintain a six-foot distance between tables.
  • Public buildings should consider whether visitation may be limited.  Hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are encouraged to implement visitation policies that protect vulnerable persons. 
  • All persons should consider whether out-of-state travel plans may be delayed or cancelled.  
  • Participants in religious services or events, weddings, funerals and family events should exercise prudence and maintain consistent six-foot distance between participants if possible.  

ADPH added that workplaces should attempt to adhere to the recommendations whenever possible, “it is understood that exceptions may be needed for essential government functions, municipal and state legislative bodies, and health care facilities including clinics, hospitals and pharmacies. Consider using means for electronic or video meetings in workplaces if possible,” a release from ADPH reads.

Update: Monday, March 16, 8:25 a.m.:

The Alabama Department of Public Health will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. to provide an update on the coronavirus COVID-19.

Boys and Girls Club closes

Update: Sunday, March 15, 8:43 p.m.: 

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County announced that it will be closed until March 20, if not later.  

“It’s important that you know the safety and protection of your children is the number one priority of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County,” said the post on the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lee County Facebook page. “We are doing everything possible to keep our Club members, staff and volunteers protected from the COVID-19 virus.” 

Staff of the club will be disinfecting the the clubhouses during the closure, the post added. 

“In the meantime, we are advising all our Club staff, families and youth to continue to take preventative measures as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the post said. “Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our administrative office at 334-502-1311. We will continue to update you with any new information.”

Lee County case confirmed

Update: Sunday, March 15, 7:15 p.m.: 

Lee County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Sunday evening.

No other details were immediately available Sunday night, including the location or how the virus was brought into the county.

There are 22 confirmed virus cases in Alabama as of 7 p.m. Sunday. 

Jefferson County has the most cases with 12 confirmed. Tuscaloosa County has three confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Elmore, Limestone and Montgomery counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Update: Sunday, March 15, 7:10 p.m.:

Auburn University Campus Safety and Security sent the following email at 7:14 Sunday night to its employees:

"As you all are aware, university leadership is in constant communication with state and federal officials as we continue to monitor developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Auburn remains committed to doing our part in ensuring the safety and health of the university community and takes seriously our responsibility to the broader local, state and national community.  

"Based on the latest COVID-19 developments and best practices recommended by state and federal authorities, Auburn will transition to an alternate operations model starting Monday, March 16, to be fully implemented by close of business Monday. All Auburn employees who can perform their job responsibilities from a remote location should begin doing so as soon as possible but no later than close of business Monday, March 16

"Determinations regarding assigned work locations for employees (remote or job site) will be made by supervisors based on the employee’s assigned job responsibilities and the need to maintain full university operations. Supervisors should communicate as soon as possible with employees in their units regarding implementation of this directive. 

"This alternate operations model is currently intended to be in place until April 10. As we all know, however, new information is becoming available daily. The university will communicate any necessary modifications to this operations model as circumstances change. Please monitor the university’s COVID-19 site for regular updates."

Update: Sunday, March 15: 5:15 p.m.:

Alabama state employees can begin working from home, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Sunday night.

“Effective on Monday, March 16, I will be authorizing agency directors to implement telework, flexible work schedules and practice social distancing for the next three weeks,” Ivey said in a statement.

“Departments providing public safety, direct care, and other essential services must plan and schedule their activities accordingly, with the directors of depts determining the staffing to ensure the continued operation of essential and emergency services.

“For more information, please contact your immediate supervisor or department head. While out of the office, please continue the practice of sound hygiene and social distancing.”

Employees should plan to return to their regular work schedules on Monday, April 6, Ivey said.

Update: Sunday, March 15, 3:42 p.m.:

There now are 13 positive cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Sunday afternoon.

There were 12 virus cases as of Saturday night.

Jefferson County has the most cases with seven confirmed coronavirus cases. Tuscaloosa County has two confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Elmore, Limestone and Montgomery counties each have one confirmed case.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Update: Saturday, March 14, 10:42 p.m.: 

Walmart and Publix are changing their business hours in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. beginning Sunday until further notice, the company announced Saturday.

“This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing,” a release from Walmart reads. “Stores currently operating under more reduced hours (for example they regularly close at 10 p.m. or open at 7 a.m.) will keep their current hours of operation.”

Publix also announced Saturday that all grocery store location will close at 8 p.m. until further notice. The change begins Saturday.

The change is “to better serve our customers, give our store teams time to conduct additional preventive sanitation and restock product on shelves,” a release from Publix reads.

Updated: Saturday, March 14, 10:32 p.m.:

There now are 12 positive cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Alabama, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Saturday night.

There were six virus cases as of Friday night.

Jefferson County has the most cases with five confirmed coronavirus cases. Tuscaloosa County has two confirmed cases, according to the health department.

Baldwin, Elmore, Limestone and Montgomery counties each have one confirmed case.

There also is one confirmed case from out of state, according to the health department.

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

Updated: Saturday, March 14, 4:34 p.m.

The Supreme Court of Alabama is suspending all in-person court appearances across the state, effective Monday.

Julia Jordan Weller, the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Alabama, issued a statement on behalf of the justices late Friday.

The order, made possible by Gov. Kay Ivey’s declaration of a state of emergency Friday, applies to circuit courts, district courts (including small claims), juvenile courts, municipal courts , probate courts and appellate courts, according to the statement. It runs through April 16, 2020.

The statement also lists exceptions, including bond hearings, emergency order hearings, plea agreements and civil and criminal trials already in progress. Those in-person hearings that are allowed will only include attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers and other necessary persons, as determined by the trial judge.

In addition, “… this order expressly does not prohibit court proceedings by telephone, video , teleconferencing, or other means that do not involve in- person contact . This order does not affect courts' consideration of matters that can be resolved without in- person proceedings,” according to the statement.

The order may be read in full at https://www.alabar.org/assets/2020/03/COV-19-order-FINAL.pdf.

Updated: Saturday, March 14, 3 p.m.

Alabama nursing homes are restricting who can visit residents in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) announced Saturday.

The move is in response to guidance published Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to restrict visitation of residents.

The CMS guidance says nursing homes “should restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation. In those cases, visitors will be limited to a specific room only,” a release from the ANHA reads. “In addition, CMS directs nursing homes to cancel communal dining and group activities and actively screen residents and staff for respiratory symptoms.”

ANHA President & CEO Brandon Farmer issued the following statement:

“With a national state of emergency declared by the President, the Alabama Nursing Home Association is urging all nursing homes in the state to follow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) new guidance to restrict visitation of residents.”

ANHA says state nursing home have been practicing protective protocols similar to the new CMS guidance for several days.

“These actions are imperative because nursing homes serve people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” the release reads. “Protecting the health and well-being of those in our care at all times and the protection of the general public during this health-related emergency are our priority. We know this is a difficult time for our residents and their family members. Please know that nursing home staff are committed to helping families and residents communicate during this time."

Updated: Friday, March 13, 9:34 p.m.:

There are six confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

The confirmed cases are from the following counties: Elmore, Jefferson, Limestone, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. Another confirmed case is from out of town. 

For the latest figures from the health department visit: http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html

UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 9:25 p.m.:

Auburn University Transportation shared on Facebook that students whose cars are parking on campus will not need to move them during the remote instruction.

UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 9:05 p.m.:

Auburn City Schools released a statement after Gov. Kay Ivey's announcement:

"Auburn City Schools will be CLOSED until Monday, April 6. In accordance with the Governor’s State of Emergency, ACS will be closed for three weeks"

UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 7:10 p.m.: 

East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) shared in a tweet Friday afternoon that they have coronavirus COVID-19 test kits available at the hospital which, after testing, will be sent to the Alabama Department of Public Health. 

“At this time, EAMC has COVID-19 collection kits available that are reserved for patients who meet certain criteria,” the tweet read. “We cannot currently test. If a kit we collect is approved by ADPH, the specimen can be sent to ADPH or an independent lab for testing.”

UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 6:56 p.m.: 

The Lewis J. Cooper Memorial Library in Opelika will remain open with normal hours, for now. 

However, all events, activities and offsite programming has been canceled for two weeks, according to a Friday afternoon press release from the city of Opelika. 

UPDATED: Friday, March 13, 6:45 p.m.:

Following the lead of Alabama governor Kay Ivey, the AHSAA has announced that all athletic events are hereby suspended. The last date for any activity – which includes but is not limited to contests, practices, weightlifting and conditioning – will be Tuesday, March 17.

At the end of the two-and-a-half weeks during which Alabama public schools will be closed, the AHSAA will reevaluate health conditions and determine the status of spring sports championship play.

The announcement comes after the AHSAA began Friday with a statement saying it would simply limit crowds at events to no more than 500 people.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 5:30 p.m.:

All Lee County Schools will be closed Monday, March 16 - Sunday, April 5. This includes all school related activities.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 5:15 p.m.:

All public K-12 schools in Alabama will close at the end of Wednesday, March 18, through at least April 6 in response to coronavirus COVID-19, Gov. Kay Ivey said during a news conference Friday.

Schools will close for a two-and-a-half week break in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Ivey also issued a state of emergency.

A second case of the virus was confirmed in Alabama, Dr. Scott Harris, who runs the Alabama Department of Public Health, said during the news conference.

The second virus patient is from Jefferson County. 

Harris added that the health department received preliminary reports of three additional coronavirus cases, which would bring Alabama to a total of five cases.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 4:08 p.m.:

From Opelika City Schools: "... students should plan to return to school on Monday, March 23, 2020. If for any reason, those plans change due to decisions made by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the State Department of Education regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19, parents will be notified by school messenger and through the local media."

Updated: Friday, March 13, 3:45 p.m.:

Due to precautionary measures, all Reeltown High School athletic events including the RHS softball tournament have been canceled for tomorrow, March 14. The softball tournament would have included several local teams, including Dadeville, Opelika and Valley.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 3:33 p.m.:

Auburn City Schools will extend its spring break through March 23 to avoid the distribution of the coronavirus COVID-19. 

"The scheduled Spring Break in Auburn City Schools was initially planned for March 9-13 with school scheduled to resume on Monday, March 16," said Daniel Chesser, public relations specialist for ACS. "Due to the concern for the spread of COVID-19, Coronavirus, the school holiday will be extended until Monday, March 23, to promote the safety health, and well being of students and staff."

The break will allow students to keep their distance from one another and hopefully curb the spread of the disease, Chesser said. 

"System administrators are working closely with local and state authorities to mono tiro the situation. Updates will be provided to students, parents, and guardians throughout the extended spring holiday to ensure effective communication about plans moving forward," he added. 

Hannah Lester/hlester@oanow.com

Updated: Friday, March 13, 3:10 p.m.:

The Friends of the Auburn Public Library's BIG Book Sale has been postponed until summer 2020. 

The book sale was originally scheduled for March 28 - 30. 

The Opelika SportsPlex will remain open; however, the basketball gym and pool will be closed until March 27.

The Denson Drive Recreation Center and Covington Recreation Center, both in Opelika, are closed until March 27. 

All Opelika parks and recreation games, classes, activities and programs are canceled until March 27. This includes all practices, games, group fitness classes and swim lessons. 

The city of Auburn also is extending its free parking in downtown Auburn though Friday, April 10. 

Updated: Friday, March 13, 3:08 p.m.: 

The Southeastern Conference announced Friday that all athletics activities at member schools, including Auburn, is to be suspended through April 15.

That includes all competition, practices, meetings and other organized gatherings.

The SEC previously announced a suspension for competition through March 30.

Auburn’s basketball, baseball and softball seasons have all been halted, among all other sports. Auburn football’s A-Day spring game was scheduled for April 11 and now the suspension extends past that.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 3 p.m.: 

Auburn Parks and Recreation is cancelling numerous events in response to coronavirus COVID-19.

The following events are canceled:

  • Bark in the Park
  • Tails n Trails
  • Ride and Seek
  • Earth Day programs for Auburn City Schools’ second graders
  • Breakfast with the Bunny
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Spring Skate Jam

Those who purchased tickets for any of these events will be issued a full refund, including online ticket fees.

The city released the following statement:

“As an increasing number of COVID-19 cases are reported across the U.S., including one confirmed case in Montgomery County, the City of Auburn is continuing to carefully monitor this issue and gauge its impact on the Auburn community. The City of Auburn’s COVID-19 Task Force is in regular contact with local, state and regional resources to remain informed of the latest updates and recommendations.

"The City of Auburn has engaged its longstanding business continuity plan to continue to safely provide the services Auburn residents need. Staff members are proactively preventing the spread of germs at public facilities by regularly disinfecting high-traffic surfaces, and employees are being encouraged to practice social distancing and other health precautions recommended by the CDC.

"Regularly scheduled programs and meetings throughout the City will continue as planned. Those who are more susceptible to illnesses are encouraged to evaluate and consider the risk of visiting high-traffic facilities or attending events.

"Those who purchased tickets for any of these events will be issued a full refund, including online ticket fees.

"City of Auburn staff will continue to protect and serve the Auburn community through 911 and public safety services, water and sewer services, trash collection, road and infrastructure maintenance, regular communications and more. Please take advantage of the many services available at auburnalabama.org, including online payment options, the reporting of non-emergency concerns, the Auburn Public Library’s online resources, livestreamed City Council meetings and more.”

Updated: Friday, March 13, 2:45 p.m.:

The Prattville Christian Academy softball tournament has been canceled. Beauregard, Central-Phenix City and Tallassee had been scheduled to participate.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 2:20 p.m.:

Lee-Scott Academy will be closed to all students and parents March 16-20. All extracurricular activities and athletic events during that week are canceled.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 2:17 p.m.:

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, the OHS Prom has been moved from Saturday, April 4, to Saturday, May 9, 2020, according to Tweet just posted on Opelika City Schools account.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 2:02 p.m.:

The Alabama Republican Senate run-off election between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville remains scheduled for March 31 despite the state recording its first confirmed case of coronavirus COVID-19, the Office of the Alabama Secretary of State announced.

“Secretary of State John H. Merrill is confident in the ability of the ADPH to monitor the potential spread of the virus and to treat the case(s) accordingly,” a release from the office reads. “The Office of the Secretary of State has been in close communication with the local election officials in all 67 of Alabama’s counties to discuss Election Day preparation and encourage preventative measures to maintain the health and safety of voters.”

The office recommends that voters who are concerned about contracting or spreading the virus may vote by absentee.

The deadline to apply from an absentee ballot is Thursday, March 26, and the last day to postmark or return an absentee ballot by hand in Monday, March 30.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 1:28 p.m.:

The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) will shut down on-campus instruction at Southern Union State Community College and 22 other institutions across the state March 17-April 3.

Many ACCS institutions have a scheduled Spring Break during this time and students may be asked to extend this break period. All events scheduled at the state’s community colleges during this time frame are also cancelled.

While classes will not be taking place on campuses, ACCS colleges will continue normal operations. 

Updated: Friday, March 13, 1:25 p.m.:

The free Multidisciplinary Tinnitus Care Conference scheduled for March 27 at Auburn University has been canceled as part of the university’s precautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university has canceled all events through April 10. A rescheduled date is forthcoming.

For more information on Auburn’s preparedness for COVID-19, visit https://ocm.auburn.edu/news/coronavirus/

Updated: Friday, March 13, 12:40 p.m.: 

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller released a statement Friday afternoon reassuring his citizens:

"I wanted to reach out today to reassure our citizens that the City of Opelika is prepared for the ever-changing coronavirus COVID-19 situation. City officials are working closely with East Alabama Medical Center, Opelika City Schools, local business and industry to ensure that we have plans in place to maintain essential city services. This includes but not limited to police, fire, EMT, power, solid waste and wastewater collection. In addition, we are in communication with Opelika Utilities and they are also prepared.

"We will be constantly monitoring the situation and provide updates via the city website (www.opelika-al.gov); social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram); and communicated through the local media.

"I encourage you to continue your daily routine while using social distancing as you can. Use common sense and wash your hands. Our local businesses are open and need your support. I know that our community is one who rallies together when challenging situations occur. Be calm and patient as we all work through this together.”

Updated: Friday, March 13, 12:30 p.m.:

The first case of coronavirus (COVID-19)  has been confirmed in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday morning.

A Montgomery county resident tested positive for the virus. The patient came in contact with the virus out of state, said Dr. Scott Harris, who runs the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“Our understanding is at this time is that the patient felt unwell upon returning home and has self-isolated themselves since they have been home,” Harris said. “This person continues to not be out in public or in the community but is isolated at this time.”

No other identifying factors were released by Harris, other than the patient had other chronic medical conditions, which considered the patient to be high risk for the virus.

“Alabamians are smart and savvy, and I know they will continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread to themselves or others,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a prepared statement. “We have taken a calm and collected approach in preparation for this first confirmed case, and we need to remember that calm and steady wins the race. Alabamians should not be fearful, but instead, use commonsense to watch out for themselves and others. We will remain engaged on the matter and continue prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all Alabamians.”

The state began testing for coronavirus about a week ago. The sample from the first confirmed virus patient in the state was submitted to the state Thursday.

“At about 8 a.m. this morning we learned that this test was positive,” Harris said.

Harris added that Alabama has continued to increase its testing ability, noting that any physician in the state who orders a test on a patient will automatically be approved. The health department expects to test about a dozen or more samples Friday for the virus.

Harris encourages Alabamians to make sure they have an adequate amount of food and prescription medication.

“We feel like we have a good plan in place,” he said. “We believe Alabama is prepared.”

Updated: Friday, March 13, 12:02 p.m.: 

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center will postpone or cancel upcoming performances in wake of Auburn University moving to remote access classes.

“We are working diligently with all artists whose performances at the Gogue Center have been affected to reschedule their engagements for later dates,” said Jonathan Osborne, director of marketing and communications for the performing arts center. “At this time, our goal is to postpone and reschedule performances—not to cancel.”

“We are eager to welcome these artists to Auburn as soon as we can.”

Performances through April 10 will be affected, according to a press release from the center.

The only canceled performance, as of this time, is the United States Navy Band that was set to perform tonight.

The postponed performances will include Sierra Hull, who was set to perform March 20, The Dover Quartet with Bridget Kibbey, which was set to perform March 24, Marsalis who was set to perform March 26 and the Alfredo Ridriguez and Pedrito Martinez Duo who was set to perform April 7, according to the release.

Additionally, Baby Shark Live, on April 22 has been postponed.

“In addition to these performances, all related events, including pre-show artists talks, master classes, school show performances and community engagements, will also be rescheduled,” the release added.

The purchased tickets for performances that have been rescheduled will still be valid, the release said.

“The safety and wellbeing of our patrons, visiting artists, staff, the university and community is of our utmost concern,” said Christopher Heacox, Gogue Center executive director. “We sincerely regret any inconvenience and appreciate our patrons for their support and understanding.”

People who purchased tickets for performances that have been canceled can receive credit toward a future performance or request a refund, according to the release.

“Beginning Friday, March 13, members of our patron services team will be available to assist you with any questions or concerns via email and telephone only,” the release said. “The Gogue Center box office will reopen for in-person visits on Tuesday, April 14. For further information, please contact the box office at gpactickets@auburn.edu or 334.844.TIXS (8497).”

The release added that rescheduled dates will be announced soon.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 11:30 a.m.:

Smiths Station softball’s game against Pinson Valley on Friday has been postponed. Meanwhile, Tallassee High School’s track meet at Troy University has been canceled.

Updated: Friday, March 13, 10:25 a.m.:

The Alabama High School Athletic Association released a statement Friday morning updating the association’s plans for spring sports due to the coronavirus. The AHSAA plans for all sanctioned sports to continue but with stipulations regarding crowd size.

“As explained within previous correspondence, the AHSAA is closely monitoring statewide conditions regarding COVID-19 with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Center of Disease Control (CDC),” the statement read. “Based on the ADPH’s recommendation and in accordance with information sent to public schools from the ALSDE, events with 500 or more in attendance from outside the school’s student body should be cancelled or limited to the recommended number.

“Compliance regarding this recommendation is the responsibility of local schools and school boards.”

Additionally, the AHSAA provided answers to several questions regarding spring sports.

If schools have canceled all extra-curricular activities, the association emphasized that practice and competition for any sport are a school and school system decision and should be based on recommendations from the ADPH. Presently, the AHSAA plans on spring sports to have their regularly-scheduled championships but have formed a Spring Sports Contingency Committee to develop alternative options for championship play if necessary.

Once those contingency plans have been developed, schools will be notified of championship qualifications to ensure all teams have equal opportunity to participate. If one team in a contest opts to not play due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, the AHSAA will not count that as a forfeit.

The association’s statement comes four days after initially saying it was “closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the state and surrounding states. While there has not been a confirmed case of this new virus within our state, we are in constant contact with state officials who are monitoring the situation and providing updates.”

Updated: Friday, March 13, 10:06 a.m.:

The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday morning.

A Montgomery county resident tested positive for the virus. The patient is someone who traveled out of state and came in contact with the virus, the City of Montgomery announced.

Ivey released the following statement:

“Along with my fellow Alabamians, I have closely monitored the rapidly changing events regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a state, we have taken precautionary measures and made preparations in the case that the virus would eventually reach our state. As I have emphasized time and again, the safety and health of Alabamians is paramount.

“Alabamians are smart and savvy, and I know they will continue taking appropriate precautions to prevent the spread to themselves or others. We have taken a calm and collected approach in preparation for this first confirmed case, and we need to remember that calm and steady wins the race. Alabamians should not be fearful, but instead, use commonsense to watch out for themselves and others. We will remain engaged on the matter and continue prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all Alabamians.

“I am grateful to the work of State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, as well as the members of my Coronavirus Task Force and countless individuals who are also watching and working on this situation closely.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health is set to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday.

Updated: Thursday, March 12, 7:32 p.m.

The Auburn football team has postponed the start of spring practices and suspended all football-related activities, with the university saying that the program will continue to assess the situation moving forward.

Practice was originally scheduled to open Monday. The annual spring game, scheduled for April 11, is surely in limbo.

Updated: Thursday, March 12, 7:21 p.m.

Auburn men's basketball legend Charles Barkley announced on TNT that he has been feeling sick and has gone into self-quarantine while he awaits coronavirus testing results.

He said on Thursday night that he is staying in self-quarantine for 48 hours. He said he was in New York earlier in the week. 

"I haven't been feeling great and they didn't want me to take any chances, so he told me to quarantine myself for 48 hours," Barkley said on TNT. "I went and took the coronavirus test late this afternoon. I have not gotten the results back. I'm just kind of in limbo right now.

"I'm hoping — I'm really hoping — it was just a bug."

Updated: Thursday, March 12, 6:08 p.m.

East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) will enforce new visitor restrictions from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily, starting Friday:

Per a Thursday press release, only one person per patient will be allowed for patients in the following areas:

  • EAMC and EAMC-Lanier patient rooms (overnight stays)
  • EAMC and EAMC-Lanier Emergency Departments
  • EAMC and EAMC-Lanier elective procedures (outpatient surgeries, colonoscopies, diagnostic tests, etc.)
  • EAMC Skilled Nursing Facility
  • EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home
  • Oak Park Nursing Home
  • Spencer Cancer Center

All persons are subject to a screening consisting of a temperature check and questions regarding any symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Other visitors, including clergy members, will not be permitted. Exceptions may be granted in certain extreme situations, but routine visits will not be allowed.

“This is a very unusual time in our lives and that’s why we are taking these unprecedented measures to keep our patients and caregivers safe from this coronavirus,” said Laura Grill, EAMC’s President and CEO. "I’m proud of the way our staff and physicians have accepted this difficult challenge and are making every effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Updated: Thursday, March 12, 4:15 p.m.:

The Alabama Department of Public Health is holding a news conference at 5 p.m. 

Update: Thursday, March 12, 4:10 p.m.: 

The Jule Collins Smith Museum will close, along with Auburn University, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

"On March 12, 2020, Auburn University communicated new guidelines for university operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic," said Charlotte Hendrix, communications and marketing specialist​ for the museum. "Per the university's plan, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is closed to the public from Friday, March 13, 2020, through Friday, April 10, 2020."

The museum is closed during this time, and any programs that would have been held will be canceled, Hendrix said. 

"In this challenging time, all of us at the museum send best wishes to our students, faculty, visitors, supporters, artists and colleagues," she said. 

Update: Thursday, March 12, 3:30 p.m.: 

The NCAA is canceling the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, it announced Thursday afternoon.

“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the NCAA said in a statement.

Update: Thursday, March 12, 2:45 p.m.:

Opelika City Schools plan to have a regular school day Friday before dismissing for spring break. The school system released the following statement:

"The Opelika City Schools plan on having a regular school day on Friday, March 13, 2020, and dismiss for spring break. Students should plan to return to school on Monday, March 23, 2020. If for any reason those plans change due to decisions made by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the State Department of Education regarding coronavirus COVID-19, parents will be notified by school messenger and through the local media."

Opelika City Schools also noted that athletics will continue at the school as long as the school remains open. 

Update: Thursday, March 12, 1:12 p.m.:

Auburn University will move to remote classes beginning Monday due to concerns of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The remote instruction will continue through April 10, the university said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

Auburn is asking for students to refrain from returning to campus after spring break, which continues this week through Friday.

“University officials will subsequently determine if students will return to campus for the remaining weeks of the spring semester,” the release reads. “Auburn faculty will contact students on steps they should take to continue their academic coursework.”

Auburn will continue its normal business operations; however, departments and units “should utilize remote work and ‘social distancing’ as appropriate,” according to the release.

“The Auburn Family faces many unknowns about this virus,” said Auburn University President Jay Gogue. “We are taking these unprecedented steps based on our utmost concern for the health and well-being of Auburn students, faculty and staff. In the meantime, we continue working with public health and emergency preparedness officials to make decisions in the best interest of the campus community and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The university also canceled all university events, including sporting events, through April 10. Auburn’s dining facilities, libraries and residences hall also will be closed through April 10.

“University officials will make arrangements for international students and others who are unable to return home,” the release reads. “Students who have specific questions should contact the Division of Student Affairs.

Students who live on campus and feel that it is necessary to return to campus to collect personal items are asked to contact the Office of University Housing at housing@auburn.edu.

University travels, both domestic and international, is suspended through April 10. Auburn has yet to decide on spring commencement, summer study abroad programs or other events and activities taking place after April 10.

Update: Thursday, March 12, 12:40 p.m.:

The United States Navy Band Tour’s performance at the Gogue Center has been cancelled.

“In the interest of public safety, the United States Navy Band has canceled their performance tomorrow, Friday, March 13, at the Gogue Performing Arts Center, as well as the remainder of their scheduled tour,” reads a statement from the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center’s website.

There are no plans to reschedule the concert at this time.

There are no other season performances at the Gogue Center that have been affected, currently, the center added.

Update: Thursday, March 12, 11:29 a.m.:

The SEC is suspending regular-season play for all sports and all teams in the conference until March 30.

The conference made the announced Thursday morning on Twitter.

At Auburn, the teams affected include those with men's basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics, track, tennis and more.

Update: Thursday, March 12, 10:50 a.m.:

Several college athletics conferences are beginning to cancel their men’s basketball championship tournaments over growing concerns of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

These are the conferences that announced Thursday morning they have canceled their tournaments:

  • SEC
  • AAC
  • Big Ten
  • Big 12
  • CUSA
  • WAC
  • ACC
  • Pac-12
  • MAC
  • Sun Belt
  • Atlantic 10
  • SWAC
  • Big East
  • Big Sky
  • America East

Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Lacrosse League (NLL) have each suspended their seasons, announced Thursday.

The NBA and other conferences made similar announcements on Wednesday.

An eighth case of coronavirus COVID-19 has been confirmed in Lee County, the Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday afternoon.

There are now 51 confirmed cases in Alabama.

Lee County had seven confirmed cases Wednesday morning and three confirmed cases Tuesday evening.

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