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: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
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