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: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
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