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Pike County’s COVID-19 deaths increase

Pike County has recorded its fourth confirmed death related to COVID-19.

The death was reported with the Alabama Department of Public Health 10 a.m. update on Tuesday. In addition, Pike County added nine additional reported cases, bringing the county’s total to 366 since reporting began.

More than 2,910 tests have been conducted in Pike County, and of those 12.6 percent have tested positive.

Statewide, Alabama added 639 cases in Tuesday’s report, bringing the total to 30,670 with 854 confirmed deaths. Bamatracker.com estimated some 15,974 or more than 52 percent of cases have recovered, although the state health department does not provide specific tracking data for recoveries.

Also on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth announced that a part-time employee in his office tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, who works only a handful of hours each week, utilizes a work area is separated from the rest of the staff. The employee last worked in the office on the morning of Thursday, June 18.

All members of the office staff have been tested or are in the process of being tested for COVID-19 in response, and, thus far, no additional positive results have been reported.

In addition, the State House suite has been thoroughly cleaned and will remain closed until all employees’ test results have been returned, a statement said.

Employees are working remotely from home, and phones are being answered in order to continue providing services to the citizens who need them.

Alabama health officials have announced they plan to put color-coded rankings on the spread of COVID-19 in counties. The map, which will list counties as red, yellow or green is not yet available on the state dashboard, but is expected to be unveiled in coming days, State Health Officer Scott Harris said Monday.

Harris said that the display is meant to give people and local officials information in a form that is “easy to see.”

He said the department will eventually offer guidance based on the rankings, but the state will not issue mandated closures based on it.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signaled a reluctance to revisit closure orders but has made a plea for people to practice personal responsibility in combating the virus.

“As much as we want everything to get back to normal, we can’t forget COVID-19 is still a threat. Folks, I cannot emphasize enough that we must all practice social responsibility, if we plan on moving our state forward,” Ivey said last week.

The Alabama prison system on Monday announced that two additional inmates tested positive for COVID-19. A dormitory at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio was quarantined after the two new positive tests.

A total of 50 inmates and 145 staff members and contract workers have so far tested positive for COVID-19, the Alabama Department of Corrections reported.

The prison system said 32 of the inmates remain ill. The prison system said 51 previously ill or positive staff members have returned to work.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.