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Governor’s office says cases of COVID-19 on the rise

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Selma-Dallas County Community Coronavirus Coalition, a representative from Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office, Dave White, discussed what he called a “big increase” in the number of COVID-19 cases across the state over the last few days.

According to White, the state saw an increase of 632 new cases between Monday and Tuesday, 657 new cases between Sunday and Monday and more than 1,000 new cases between Saturday and Sunday, marking four straight days of record-high cases.

Thought White said there appears to be some decline, he did not mince words in describing the situation.

“The problem is that it’s still very high,” White said. “So that’s not a good thing. Why has it happened? We have indeed had some relaxation of restrictions on some businesses…we also had Memorial Day. We’re still at very high levels…even today.”

White opined that the record-high number of cases might be exacerbated by the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and urged people to follow health guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.

Along with increasing cases, White noted that the number of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals – 640 on Monday, 624 on Friday and 647 on Thursday – is “also very high.”

“It’s not a good situation,” White said. “The hospitals can handle it, though some individual hospitals are having trouble…but it’s not a good trend.”

Also in attendance for the meeting was Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn, who announced that all departments and offices in the Dallas County Courthouse have reopened following the closure of the Dallas County Commission Office and the Tag and License Department two weeks ago due to cases of COVID-19.

Nunn noted that long lines stretched out in front of the courthouse on Monday, but those lines had receded by Tuesday morning.

According to Nunn, the deadline for tags that expired between March and June has been extended through July 17,

“You still have plenty of time to get a tag…if you have not renewed at this point in time,” Nunn said.

Nunn also discussed the upcoming runoff election, scheduled for July 14, and said that officials are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of those involved with the process.

Nunn noted that the deadline for absentee ballot applications is July 9 for the July 14 election, adding that the ballot “may look a little confusing” since the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office opted to retain the ballot’s labeled with the date of the previously-scheduled runoff – March 31.

“If you see the March 31, 2020, date on the ballot, that’s a good ballot,” Nunn said.

On Election Day, gloves and face masks will be required, temperature checks will be administered and surfaces will be regularly wiped down throughout the day.

“That’s in an effort to protect the safety of our voters, our citizens and the election officials,” Nunn said.

Where reopening offices is concerned, Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin stated that “the mayor has no intent of opening up city hall” anytime soon, despite the need for citizens and candidates to access the building ahead of the August municipal election.

Selma Police Department (SPD) Chief Kenta Fulford was also on the line and urged  people to remain cautious, specifically advising against large gatherings.

“I can’t stress enough about large gatherings,” Fulford said. “It is very important that we avoid large gatherings. We should avoid large crowds, large gatherings, whenever possible.”

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams also encouraged parents to complete an online survey, available on the school system’s website, regarding virtual learning and the upcoming school year.