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Virus: Legal opinion sought on any Alabama runoff delay

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Sunday he is seeking an emergency legal opinion from the state attorney general about the possibility of postponing the March 31 primary runoff because of the new coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 15, 2020 9:24 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Sunday he is seeking an emergency legal opinion from the state attorney general about the possibility of postponing the March 31 primary runoff because of the new coronavirus.

Alabama primary voters are currently set to go to the polls on March 31 for the Republican primary runoff in the U.S. Senate race between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville. However, public health officials are recommending people avoid large public gatherings.

Merrill said he will ask if the governor has the emergency powers to postpone the runoff. “If it is approved, we will make a recommendation to the governor," Merrill said Sunday night. Georgia and Louisiana have postponed upcoming primary elections because of the threat of the new coronavirus.

Alabama now has 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Sunday night, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Schools, courts and churches cancelled activities as public health officials urged people to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

The Alabama Supreme Court on Saturday said that in-person proceedings in all state and local courts in Alabama would be suspended until April 16.

There would be exceptions for bond hearings, protection hearings, emergency child custody hearings, trials already in progress and other matters. Proceedings out of the courthouse, such as depositions and mediations, should continue when possible, court officials said.

Alabama reported its first confirmed case of the virus on Friday, although public health officials cautioned that virus was already circulating in the state. Twelve of the 22 confirmed cases in the state are in Jefferson County, according to the Department of Public Health.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Authorities have recommended measures to slow the spread of the virus to try to avoid overwhelming the health system.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that public schools would close beginning March 19, with a tentative reopening day of April 6. Some school officials announced that they would go ahead and close beginning Monday.

Ivey on Friday declared a state of emergency.

“Folks, let's take a common-sense approach and remember calm and steady win the race," Ivey said at a news conference. “Alabamians should not be fearful but instead use common sense to watch out for ourselves and others.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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