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Alabama coronavirus cases rise by nearly 300

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s death toll from the coronavirus neared 500 on Saturday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported there have been more than 11,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and at least 485 deaths. That’s 12 more deaths than were reported Friday.

Three counties — Mobile, Jefferson and Montgomery — accounted for 41% of all case growth in the last day. Mobile added 45 cases, Jefferson added 37 and Montgomery added 35.

Meanwhile, the annual Memorial Day celebration at Veterans Memorial Park in Tuscaloosa has been canceled.

“In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak with gatherings and social distancing guidelines and in consideration for health and safety of our veterans, our military families and loved ones, PARA and association members believe it is the right thing to do,” said Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority spokeswoman Becky Booker.

No ceremony will be held under the new 70-foot flagpole at the park beside University Mall, she said. But smaller flags still will be placed by May 25 in honor of those who died in military service for the United States.

PARA and the Veterans Memorial Park Association said there are plans to hold a joint Memorial Day/Veteran’s Day celebration in November, but details have not yet been announced.

And in Auburn, city officials are working on a phased plan to reopen all city facilities by June 1. Details on the reopening will be announced in the coming days, city spokesman David Dorton said.

The Auburn City Council declared a state of emergency March 17 in response to increasing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, The Opelika-Auburn News reported.

All city meetings have been conducted remotely and Tuesday’s City Council meeting likely will be held in the same manner, officials said.

The city is hoping the council can meet in person June 2.

The move comes a few days after Opelika city officials announced they will open all city buildings Monday, under new guidelines to limit exposure to the coronavirus.

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