BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the state has 5,156 cases and 144 coronavirus-related deaths. 699 people are currently being hospitalized and treated for the virus statewide and over 48,387 people have been tested so far.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin held a press conference with updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as the numbers continue to increase.
During the press conference, Mayor Woodfin started by thanking residents for staying home during this time. Woodfin reminded everyone that the ‘stay-at-home’ order is still in place until April 30. He said City leaders are working closely with public health officials to determine the steps that are needed to continue to keep people safe.
Jefferson County Department of Health’s Director of Disease Control, Wesley Willeford spoke and reminded everyone that there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19 and that the virus is extremely contagious. He said that is why everyone needs to take the order seriously.
Willeford said “we must starve this disease,” and that is why social distancing is so important. He explains that “6 feet” is because that’s how far a respiratory droplet can spread through the air when you cough or sneeze. Therefore, until this pandemic is completely over, social distancing is a must.
Mayor Woodfin also took the time to speak about the courage of healthcare workers on the front lines, and about first responders, police officers, and grocery store employees. He thanked them all for their hard work and efforts to protect the citizens and battle the COVID-19 virus.
Woodfin also said that during this crisis, “there has been a dark side,” as he spoke about the increase of homicides and domestic violence cases being reported. Birmingham police are continuing to work to combat the increases but the citizens have to do their part and stop, Woodfin said.
Mayor Woodfin said that the YWCA has seen a 50% increase in crisis calls to the domestic violence helpline. He said that the ‘stay-at-home’ orders do not mean you should stay at home and endure domestic abuse. He urges anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse to call the 24-hour hotline at the YWCA at (205) 322-hurt or (205) 322-4878.
When asked if Mayor Woodfin would extend the ‘shelter-in-place’ order, he said it hasn’t been determined. Woodfin said that he is listening to the health experts for their recommendations and it is important to balance this healthcare crisis with the economic crisis. ADPH’s Willeford said that they are working.
JDCH’s Willeford said they are working on the possibility of releasing zip code data for COVID-19. He said they are working with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and hope to have more information regarding the zip codes in the coming days.
Mayor Woodfin also took the time to give long praise of Dr. Lisa Herring, departing Birmingham City Schools Superintendent, who today was named the sole finalist for the Superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools. He said that she will be missed and she has done so much for the Birmingham City Schools System in her three years as the superintendent.
But he said as they will soon be in search of her replacement, it is important that they find the best fit that will pick up where she left off and help provide the needed resources to give Birmingham City Schools students the education they deserve.
Mayor Woodfin reminded everyone to stay updated regarding the coronavirus pandemic, by texting BHMCOVID to 888-777.
Also visit Birminghamal.gov. for the latest updates from the City of Birmingham.
For information regarding the coronavirus from the Jefferson County Department of Health, visit.
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