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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: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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