Top Headlines: Alabama reports first coronavirus death, UAB fills with COVID-19 patients

Alabama reports first coronavirus death as cases near 400
Alabama on Wednesday reported its first coronavirus death as the total number of confirmed cases in the state reached nearly 400, officials said. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the Jackson County resident died from the COVID-19 disease. The governor said she extends, “my prayers and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones during these extraordinary circumstances.” – AP

60 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at UAB, most on ventilators
UAB said there are 60 confirmed inpatient cases of COVID-19 at the hospital as of Wednesday morning, and more than half of them are on ventilators. UAB shared the following message and graphic on social media: “As of 9 am, UAB has at least 60 confirmed inpatient #COVID19 cases, w/ growing # of patients under investigation. More than half of those patients are on ventilators. This is further proof that community action is still needed to stop the spread. Let’s all do our part. #StayHome” – WVTM

Birmingham development company helps small businesses with rent holiday
Small businesses across central Alabama fear they might not be able to survive after this pandemic. Now, one major development company in Birmingham is offering its tenants a rent holiday until June, in an effort to help them stay afloat. “Rent holiday is our way of telling tenants not to worry or stress about how they’re going to pay rent during the restaurant quarantine,” said John Boone, co-founder of Orchestra Partners. – ABC3340

Some Hyundai plant workers still reporting for essential functions
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama confirms some employees continue to work at the automobile plant despite a halt in production brought about from a positive COVID-19 case. The halt came on March 18 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. It was later extended to March 31. HMMA spokesman Robert Burns said about 100 employees are on site daily to support “essential functions,” though he added the number “could change on a daily basis.” Another 175 employees continue working in the plant’s engine shop. – WSFA

The supply chain isn’t broken. Your neighbors are just crazy
You may have seen empty shelves on your recent trip to the grocery stores. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Milk or eggs. “Milk, eggs, bread, meat products — those are the big ones I’m hearing,” said Ellie Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. “I even had someone write to me about what was wrong with the ramen noodles.” Grocers say the empty shelves aren’t the result of problems with their existing supply chains. They say it’s the result of the outbreak causing unprecedented demand that has customers cleaning valued products off shelves within hours. – Montgomery Advertiser

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17,000 file for unemployment in Alabama over 2-day period
Thousands of Alabamians are filing for unemployment benefits, sometimes overwhelming the state application system, as the coronavirus pandemic surges and causes workplaces to close temporarily or reduce operations. Nearly 17,000 people filed unemployment claims over just two days — Sunday and Monday— according to preliminary numbers from Alabama Department of Labor spokeswoman Tara Hutchison. – AP

Raytheon exits precision strike missile competition
In what was described as a mutual decision, Raytheon is exiting from the Army’s Precision Strike Missile technology maturation and risk reduction phase without a flight test under its belt, according to a company statement sent Wednesday. DeepStrike is the name Raytheon gave its missile meant to replace the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which is built by PrSM competitor Lockheed Martin. Both companies operate in Alabama. – Yahoo News

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