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Alabama death toll from COVID-19 rises to three

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s death toll from the new coronavirus pandemic has risen to three as officials prepared to announce new steps to limit the spread of the disease in the state.
The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting that one person each has died in Lauderdale and Madison counties. That’s in addition to a previously reported death in Jackson County.
All the counties where deaths have occurred are in north Alabama, but the state’s largest concentration of cases is around Birmingham, the state’s most populous area.
Gov. Kay Ivey has shut down schools for the rest of the academic year and was expected to announce additional measures Friday. All restaurants already have been ordered to end on-site dining, all beaches are closed, and the state has prohibited non-work gatherings of more than 25 people where people can’t stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
At least 538 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state through limited testing. Wide swaths of west and south Alabama, mostly rural areas, aren’t reporting any cases.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.