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Daily News Digest – March 26, 2020

Good morning!
It’s supposed to be Opening Day for Major League Baseball, but of course that isn’t happening. MLB is showing/streaming 30 classic games from each club all day long, which you can watch HERE . The Cubs’ 2016 World Series clincher is scheduled for 5:00 p.m., just so you know. (H/T Mike Allen from Axios.)
Here’s your Daily News for Thursday, March 26.

1. Alabama sees first COVID-19 death, cases rise

  • Alabama on Wednesday reported its first coronavirus death as the total number of confirmed cases in the state reached nearly 400, officials said.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the Jackson County resident died from the COVID-19 disease. The governor said she extends, “my prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones during these extraordinary circumstances.”
  • “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,” Ivey said.
  • The patient had underlying health problems and passed away in a facility outside the state of Alabama, the Health Department said. The Jackson County Commission said the person was a part-time employee at the county courthouse, and they are having the area cleaned before employees return to work.
  • The death came as the number of confirmed cases in the state through limited testing jumped by more than 100 to 386 on Wednesday, with a third of those in Jefferson County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Hospitals and public health officials in the state continue to issue calls for people to take the virus seriously.
  • Officials at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said UAB hospital on Wednesday morning was treating at least 90 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than half of them were on ventilators.
  • Read the full story from Kim Chandler HERE.


2. Medical staffing at hospitals a concern

  • As Dr. Don Williamson saw the coronavirus approach Alabama, he said he worried about three areas of potential shortages in the state.
  • First was the number of hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment that would be needed. Second was personal protection equipment for medical professionals to shield them, and then others, from the virus.
  • Third was the medical staff itself.
  • “I have real concerns about COVID-19 on health care workers,” Williamson, the executive director of the Alabama Hospital Association and former state public health officer, said.
  • Williamson points to Italy, hard-hit by the virus weeks earlier than the U.S., where about 10% of the infected are health care workers. That means they can’t serve, and the co-workers they came into contact with must be quarantined too.
  • “Now, you overlay that with the fact that we have, historically, major health care professional shortages around the state. I think one of the real critical issues we’re going to face is health care worker shortages,” Williamson told Alabama Daily News on Wednesday.
  • Efforts to entice physicians and nurses to rural Alabama have been ongoing for years.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


3. Senate passes relief package

  • The Senate passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The unanimous vote Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.
  • The 880-page measure is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote — and he released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed.
  • “Pray for one another, for all of our families and for our country,” said McConnell, R-Ky.
  • Senate passage delivered the legislation to the Democratic-controlled House, which is expected to pass it Friday. House members are scattered around the country. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the measure would pass by voice vote without lawmakers having to return to Washington.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby said the package “will bring much-needed relief for the people of Alabama and our nation during this mounting emergency. I am glad we have finally been able to advance these resources and help protect Americans throughout the country.”
  • Read more about the bill passage HERE.
  • Read more about what’s in the rescue package HERE.


4. Some businesses struggle with when to restart commerce

  • President Donald Trump wants the country open for business by mid-April, but some experts warn it’s not as easy as flipping a switch: Economies run on confidence, and that is likely to be in short supply for as long as coronavirus cases in the United States are still rising.
  • Trump this week said he wants businesses “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which falls on April 12. That contradicts many public health experts, who warn that restrictions should only be lifted gradually and once more data about infection rates is available. They expect efforts to curb the disease will continue for several months at least.
  • Many businesses say it’s not clear that reopening will be even an option in a few weeks: They have to follow the orders set in each state, and many of those are open ended or could be extended at any time. They are worried that opening too soon could be seen as irresponsible. And even if they did reopen, would customers come if the virus isn’t under control?
  • Business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, are cautious. They say reopening is a call health experts will have to make; in the meantime, they’re focused on getting financial help for businesses.
  • Some business leaders and workers, of course, back the idea of a shorter shutdown. In a weekend post on Twitter, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said those at lower risk should return to work in a few weeks.
  • “Extreme measures to flatten the virus ‘curve’ is sensible — for a time — to stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue — and beyond,” he said.
  • Read the full story HERE.


5. Will Whatley: Trucking industry serving nation

  • During this unprecedented time of social distancing, self-isolation and public health orders shutting down much of our economy, the trucking industry has helped Americans maintain something of a way of life.
  • Keeping store shelves stocked with needed goods isn’t easy during a pandemic. Just ask anyone who has tried to buy toilet paper lately.
  • ADN’s Will Whatley has roots in the trucking industry and today he shares some perspectives on what it takes to keep America moving amid a scary and uncertain time.
  • Here’s an excerpt:
“As the coronavirus epidemic has shown us, trucking is an integral part of our everyday life, but it’s also one that we often overlook. We often take truck drivers for granted.
“We rarely stop to think about how refrigerated goods travel from farms to packaging centers to grocery stores, or how raw materials find their ways from one plant to another so that goods can be made and delivered to our local shops. Shipping is one of those things that you never think about unless it’s not working.”
  • Read Will’s full column HERE.



ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama reports first coronavirus death as cases near 400


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As COVID-19 cases increase, medical staffing shortages a concern


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Senate unanimously passes massive coronavirus aid plan


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Highlights of Congress’ $2.2 trillion virus relief package


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Some businesses struggle with when to restart commerce


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: No shelter-in-place order needed for state right now; Bham says make it so


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabamians encouraged to give blood


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama unemployment claims skyrocket amid pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 25, 2020


AL.COM  – First Alabama-linked coronavirus death reported


AL.COM  – Tuscaloosa orders city-wide curfew to stop spread of coronavirus


AL.COM  – Work continues with skeleton crew at Montgomery’s Hyundai plant


AL.COM  – Alabama abortion clinics deemed essential amid COVID-19 business closures


AL.COM  – Birmingham hospitals now facing first wave of coronavirus patients


AL.COM  – When should Alabama schools open up again?


AL.COM  – Revenue plummets, planes grounded at Alabama airports


AL.COM  – Disease detectives of Alabama work to keep ahead of spread


AL.COM  – Coronavirus puts Alabama legislative meeting days in doubt


AL.COM  – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: If Alabama has to go back to work, so should the Legislature.


AL.COM  – Alabama’s new coronavirus ‘hot spot’: Auburn area


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama’s first coronavirus death is in Jackson County, ADPH and governor say


Montgomery Advertiser – Confirmed Alabama coronavirus cases swell to 386


Montgomery Advertiser – Are you a health care worker in Alabama? We want to hear your coronavirus experience


YellowHammer News – First Alabama coronavirus death confirmed in Jackson County


YellowHammer News – Ainsworth criticizes Alabama’s coronavirus prep — ‘Not taking a realistic view of the numbers or adequately preparing for what awaits us’


YellowHammer News – Sessions wants Trump to keep the pressure on China after their failure to contain the Chinese coronavirus


Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 – The Latest: Troy University confirms two positive cases; Alabama reports 386 cases; Dothan implements ‘no-touch’ trash collection


Dothan Eagle – Confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus involve student, faculty member at Troy University


Dothan Eagle – Coronavirus protocols hurting local small businesses; local agency offers help


Tuscaloosa News – DCH faces patient crisis if COVID-19 rules ignored, officials say


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama unemployment claims skyrocket amid pandemic


Tuscaloosa News – Coronavirus could ‘doom’ much of Alabama’s legislative session


Decatur Daily – GE Appliances employee in Decatur has COVID-19; plant temporarily shut down


Decatur Daily – Decatur residents crowd into shelters despite coronavirus concerns


Decatur Daily – Alabamians encouraged to give blood



Times Daily – Minor damage, no injuries in EF-1 tornado in Colbert County


Times Daily – Blood donations needed to avoid shortage


Times Daily – Lawmakers: Coronavirus could ‘doom’ much of legislative session


Gadsden Times – First COVID-19 death confirmed in Alabama


Gadsden Times – Making a difference, one mask at a time


Gadsden Times – 283 confirmed cases in 28 counties in Alabama


Anniston Star – Officials: COVID-19 crisis causing shortages of arthritis drug


Anniston Star – First death of an Alabamian linked to COVID-19 announced Wednesday night


Anniston Star – Pandemic takes resources, leaves homeless vulnerable


Troy Messenger – HOPE: Home offers hope and a promise for a new beginning


Troy Messenger – First Pike County case confirmed; TU reports faculty, student cases


Troy Messenger – A NOTE FOR HER FRIENDS: Toddler shares notes, cookies during this scary time


Andalusia Star News – Local churches look to livestreaming during COVID-19 pandemic


Andalusia Star News – Food pantry yet to see significant change


Andalusia Star News – Pets and COVID-19


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: ADPH confirms first state virus death; Opelika rehab center reports two virus cases; nine with virus hospitalized at EAMC; Lee County hits 40 confirmed cases, Russell County confirms first case


Opelika-Auburn News – Fostering, adoptions still needed at Lee County Humane Society


Opelika-Auburn News – Kreher Preserve and Nature Center remains open


Daily Mountain Eagle – Senate passes coronavirus rescue package on unanimous vote


Daily Mountain Eagle – Alabama reports first coronavirus death as cases near 400


Daily Mountain Eagle – $2 trillion virus rescue bill hits late snags in Senate


Trussville Tribune – ALL Kids functioning at limited capacity during COVID-19 outbreak


Trussville Tribune – Milo’s providing 150 meals to kids at each restaurant every week


Trussville Tribune – UPDATED: Coronavirus cases in Alabama grow by over 100 in 24 hours with 386 reported, Jefferson County has 129, St. Clair County with 6


Athens News Courier – Tuesday storm downs 10 utility poles


Athens News Courier – Stocks jump, heading for first back-to-back gain in 6 weeks


Athens News Courier – Alabama unemployment claims skyrocket amid pandemic


Sand Mountain Reporter – ALDOT unveils $18 million solution for US 231


Sand Mountain Reporter – ADPH reports one case of coronavirus in Marshall County | State sees first COVID-19 death


Sand Mountain Reporter – Masks for Marshall County | Local doctors, volunteers help hospitals in short supply


WSFA Montgomery – YMCA’s ‘Brown Bag Bus’ program feeding kids with schools closed


WSFA Montgomery – 3 Montgomery college students stuck in Guatemala


WSFA Montgomery – Tuskegee University says student, employee have COVID-19


Fox 6 Birmingham – Vulcan lights up the sky as a symbol of unity


Fox 6 Birmingham – Lee County officials search for missing 4-year-old


Fox 6 Birmingham – Bridal designer leads effort to create face masks, wants to help those with “greatest need”


WAFF Huntsville – SBA offering loans to small businesses impacted by pandemic


WAFF Huntsville – Alabama COVID-19 cases jump to 386


WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville teacher tests positive for COVID-19


WKRG Mobile – Senate passes $2.2 trillion economic rescue package in response to coronavirus pandemic; House vote later this week


WKRG Mobile – Local principal continues to make morning announcements despite empty classrooms


WKRG Mobile – City-by-city breakdown of COVID-19 cases in NW Florida


WTVY Dothan – Alabama announces first death of a state resident who tested positive for COVID 19


WTVY Dothan – Coronavirus closings and cancellations


WTVY Dothan – Emergency Missing Child Alert issued for 4-year-old missing from Auburn


WASHINGTON POST  – What’s in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus Senate stimulus package


WASHINGTON POST  – Fauci’s coronavirus reality check: ‘You don’t make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline.’


WASHINGTON POST  – Calculate how much you’ll get from the $1,200 (or more) coronavirus checks


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Says Reopen by Easter, Corporate America Says Not So Fast


NEW YORK TIMES  – Stimulus Money to Protect Elections Falls Short, Critics Say


NEW YORK TIMES  – Layoffs and Food Lines: How the Pandemic Slams the Poorest U.S. Workers



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