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Thursday, 4 March 2021

3.31.20 A Block Coronavirus

Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
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3.31.20 A Block Coronavirus
3.31.20 A Block Coronavirus

Really good.

Jumping start.

Tons of graphics.

Lots of variety (hospitals, sports, latest and projected numbers, laws, schools, rural broadband, voting, drug addiction, stocks)

We start with new developments on the coronavirus outbreak in alabama.

The state now has 999 cases - one shy of hitting four digits!

There are also 13 confirmed deaths so far.

One tenth of those cases are from madison county.

North alabama's larget county is the first to hit the century mark!

It has the second most cases in alabama with 100 even.

New information tonight from major league baseball... it's suspending the start of the minor league baseball season until further notice!

That's huge news for north alabama -- with the trash pandas inaugural season now on hold!

We reached out to the team - but were not given a comment at this time.

And we have new information tonight on the four employees who tested positive for coronavirus at the high-lands medical center in jackson county.

You're taking a live look at the hospital now.

The chairman of the jackson county commission tells waay 31 two of the four employees are nurses at the hospital.

We are working to learn the roles of the other two employees.

Thanks for joining us tonight.

I'm najahe sherman.

And i'm dan shaffer.

We start out team coverage with waay31's steven dilsizian.

He has been following this story throughout the day, steven what's the latest?

As of right now, the alabama department of public health counts 8 total coronavirus cases in jackson county, but commission chairman tim guffey tells me that does not include all four of the hospital employees!

Guffey tells me two of the four employees at the highlands medical center were nurses.

I reached out to the hospital directly but they would not release any information about the employees.

Hospital officials do tell me all four employees are self-quarantined at home and are not being held at the hospital.

They also tested many other employees for the coronavirus, all of those tests have come back negative.

Guffey tells me anyone who could have potentially been exposed or in contact with the four hospital employees has been contacted.

The hospital is screening anyone who comes into the facility, checking their temperature and evaluating any symptoms. guffey tells me they have a shortage of gowns, and enough masks to last for about a week.

If you have any supplies you'd like to donate you can find out how on our website at waay tv dot com.

Live in scottsboro - sd - waay31 news.

In a statement from highlands medical center, hospital officials say they quote "anticipate those on the front line could contract the virus in the community or from providing care."

The statement goes on to say the risk is especially heightened during this pandemic.

Highlands medical center isn't the only north alabama hospital to have employees test positive.

Today -- a spokesperson with crestwood hospital confirmed 2 staff members tested positive.

We know one was is a physician - and the other is an employee.

One of them is hospitalized -- and the other is quarantined at home.

Yesterday - huntsville hospital had its first confirmed case.

New tonight.

Alabama is one of just 17 states that has not yet issued a shelter in place order - but it's rate of increasing cases is blowing by states that have!

Governor kay ivey has often said "we are not louisiana, we are not new york state, we are not california."

She's right in terms of population, density and number of cases - but in terms of increasing cases - alabama is surging above them with a 365 percent increase since last week!

These numbers are from "the covid tracking project."

Let's dive a little deeper into just how serious things are starting to get in alabama.

Here are the latest numbers from the "institute for health metrics and evaluation."

The good news is there is no hospital bed shortage in the state - but hospitals are running low on supplies and running out of time.

Right now the peak date for cases and resource use is projected to be april 20th.

By that date - there will be an estimated shortage of 78 beds in intensive care units for the most critical patients.

441 ventilators will be needed.

The most alarming statistic - deaths.

Today the total doubled from 6 to 13!

Currently another 11 deaths are under investigation.

Based on the state's projected arch... we're expected to peak at 37 deaths per day!

And this last stat is something that will stick with many of you.

With alabama's current trajectory - the state could hit as many as 1,173 deaths by early august!

To put that in perspective: alabama doesn't even have that many confirmed cases yet!

... and it would be almost a 9- thousand percent increase on the current death total!

On a positive note - the projected death total dropped more than 500 deaths just from yesterday!

So it goes to show a lot can change by then.

There's still 20 days between now and when the projected peak day.

While some of these numbers may seem catastrophic, heath officials at the federal, state and local level all agree that if everyone does their part... we can "flatten the curve" and save lives.

Tonight the waay31 i-team sifted through misinformation, confusion, and complaints over a 2010 public health guideline.

It states that people with severe mental disabilities should not be given a ventilator in a pandemic like the one we're in!

This is a direct quote from the states guidelines in a mass casualty event.

It says, "persons with severe or profound mental retardation, moderate to severe dementia, or catastrophic neurological complications such as persistent vegetative state are unlikely candidates for ventilator support."

The coronavirus pandemic led to advocacy groups filing complaints about it.

When we confronted them -- the department said it updated guidelines recently the verbiage in the new plan dated february 2020 plan says, "all people deserve equal respect, and with this in mind, the allocation of care cannot discriminate based on anything that is not directly relevant to the eligibility of individuals to receive care."

New at ten.

New at ten -- experts say people struggling with addiction are more at risk of relapse as routines get disrupted and lives put on pause due to coronavirus restrictions.

Waay31's megan reyna joins us live in huntsville with what the partnership for a drug free community is doing to safely serve people in recovery, megan?

As of right now -- the group's newest program - the recovery resource hub is still operating.

It finds services for those seeking treatment.

But when it comes to recovery support meetings -- like many other things -- they've gone virtual.

Laney says:"a big trigger for a lot of people, is just being lonely."

Pat laney has been clean for more than 25 years.

Laney says:"i can't imagine myself doing anything different."

He's now a certified recovery support specialist... dedicating his time to helping people find a new path in life.

But with a pandemic -- they've been thrown some curve balls laney says:"it's a very unique time, very unique situation, we do not want to not be able to offer services."

A week ago -- the organization chose to hold virtual recovery support meetings using zoom.

Laney says:"you know, it's just one of those things, it gives them 45 minutes where they can talk about their problems and let's face it, we all have fears right now."

And while its too early to tell -- laney does suspect this pandemic could cause more people to relapse.

Laney says:"since it's kinda hit, we've been getting a lot more phone calls about people seeking help."

Laney also told me that there's treatment facilities that aren't taking in as many patients right now due to the coronavirus.

But he says if you or someone you know is in need of treatment -- to give him call.

We'll have his contact information on our website at waay tv dot com reporting in hsv mr waay 31 news your stock portfolio has certainly taken a hit so far this year.

Today marked the end of the first quarter - and for some indexes - it was their worst in history!

The month of march was the worst for the dow jones industrial average since october 2008.

From january through march - the dow lost 23.2-percent of its value - the worst first quarter for the dow - ever!

The tech-heavy nasdaq faired just a little better.

For the 3 months ending today -the nasdaq lost a little more than 14-percent - it's worst showing since 2018.

The s&p 500 lost 20-percent this quarter - also its worst first quarter in history.

Futures are showing another down start to the trading day wednesday... the alabama runoff was slated for today -- but the coronavirus forced voters to stay inside their homes.

The runoff is now scheduled for july 14th.

The big ticket is the republican nomination for u-s senate between jeff sessions and tommy tuberville.

Eligible alabamians can register to vote in the runoff election until june 29th.

Speaking of voting in alabama, we are learning that 400 million dollars of the 2-trillion dollar stimulus package from the government will be allocated to states to protect your right to vote.

Alabama will receive more than 7-million dollars of assistance towards the primary runoff on july 14th - and the general election on november 3rd.

Most of that money is from the relief package.

The secretary of state's office is matching up to 20-percent of that funding.

New details..

The shoals community will soon get access to high-speed internet.

Jtm broadband and the national telephone of alabama each got grant money for broadband expansion.

The money will service the town of killen in lauderdale county and the red rock community in colbert county.

They are the only 2 areas in north alabama that got to see some of the 9.5 million dollar broadband expansion grant.

In sand mountain, local companies are working to provide hot spots for the community.

Here's an updated list of free internet access hotspot locations available.

They include the collinsville, crossville and geraldine city halls.

Companies are working to set up more hot spots across dekalb county.

The internet expansion comes less than a week before students across alabama are scheduled to begin classes online.

Some school districts are using a mix of online learning and take-home-packets.

The packets are for students who don't have internet access.

Today several school districts officially announced graduation will be rescheduled.

At this time, they do not have an exact date as to when the ceremony will be held.

But it will be later this summer.

The coronavirus is putting a strain on donations to a local food pantry.

How much organizations need donations -- and how you can help and utility companies are helping keep the lights on... how they're helping customers in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Your full forecast, coming


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