In response to the nationwide coronavirus crisis that has swept Birmingham and the nation, Bham Now is working to help all of us get through this together.
Our goal: provide timely information to the community.
We will be continually adding stories, so please look for updates on our website and social media channels to this unprecedented story.
News and cancellations
Funds created to support small businesses and people in need
At a Friday morning news conference, Mayor Randall Woodfin and Drew Langloh, CEO at the United Way of Central Alabama announced funds that have been established to support small businesses and people in need during the crisis.
Here are links to the funds:
On Thursday, Jefferson County Health Department announced it is recommending canceling gatherings of 500 or more.
Here is the Health Department’s official announcement:
“JCDH is now making a recommendation that all public events with 500 or more people be canceled. This does not apply to local school systems’ core educational activities:
JCDH has made this recommendation based upon:
1) the fact that all states surrounding Alabama have confirmed cases of COVID-19,
2) the virus that causes COVID-19, is spread easily from one person to another by coughing and sneezing, and
3) the fact that social distancing remains one of the most effective tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Going digital—University/College closings in the Community
Samford University, Alabama, Birmingham-Southern and UAB are transitioning to online or alternative instruction. As of the morning of March 13, according to the Miles College website, they have not canceled on-campus classes.
What’s the impact on big events in Birmingham?
Most of Birmingham’s big events this weekend have been canceled or suspended. These include but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- Birmingham Legion, FC
- Birmingham Bulls \
- Annual Opera Gala
- Pink It Up Casino Night
- The Alabama Coffee Fest
Volunteers and Blood Donations Needed
United Way Volunteers Needed for Meals on Wheels
United Way’s Meals on Wheels program in Jefferson County serves over 1100 meals a day, five days a week. Because of the novel coronavirus crisis, they will need more volunteers/drivers, according to Samuetta Nesbitt with United Way of Central Alabama.
“Because many of our volunteers are seniors we may experience a shortage in drivers.”
Furthermore, they may need help distributing “shelf-stable meals” which the United Way has ordered. These are 14-day supplies of food that will be given to each client. If there is an outbreak and they lose a lot of volunteers, they are not able to deliver to them. United Way has used these meals during tornado and hurricane events.
To volunteer as a driver for Meals on Wheels, there is some training involved. Volunteer today.
Red Cross needs blood donations
Over 600 blood drives have been canceled throughout the South in the past 48 hours according to Annette Rowland, director of communications for the Alabama Region of the American Red Cross. This will result in 18,000 fewer blood donations!
“We are already in the midst of the cold and flu season, so the blood supplies were low to begin with and the amount of blood donations are down,” stated Rowland.
How to donate
- Visit: Redcrossblood.org
- Enter your zip code.
- Find a blood drive near you.
There are the fixed donation sites:
- Hoover: 700 Caldwell Trace, Birmingham, Alabama 35242. Open 7:30AM-3:30PM
- UAB: UAB Medical Center – North Pavilion. 1802 6th Ave. S., Birmingham 35233. Open Monday-Friday, 10:30AM-4:PM .
You can also make an appointment at 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Useful Information and Links
Testing locations in Birmingham and Bessemer: Assurance Scientific Laboratories has been given FDA approval to accept patient samples to test for the virus. Details here.
Important info from the Assurance website:
Healthcare providers can order lab tests by referring patients to the follow patient sample collection locations:
- 2868 Acton Rd., Birmingham, Alabama 35243
- 727 Memorial Dr., Bessemer, Alabama 35022
Patients without a physician order will have a provider available at the above locations to assess individuals and determine testing needs. Call 205.273.9424 to arrange a sample collection.
Don’t wait in line to renew your car tag
The Jefferson County Commission is encouraging people to renew their car tag online to avoid a trip to the courthouse. Click here for details.
When you visit the online renewal system, be prepared to enter your tag number or driver’s license number. You can also mail in your renewal when you receive your notice.
Other useful links and info
Bham Now’s Work-at-Home Guide
If you’re looking at working from home or staying at home for the next while, you need our mega-guide of useful tips for how not to lost your marbles while being stuck at home, possibly with your children. Seriously, it’s chock full of great info, including ways to support local businesses and nonprofits while practicing loving your neighbor.
From AIDS Alabama
AIDS Alabama is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will have formal contingency plans next week. We want to ensure that our clients and staff are safe. Please contact AIDSAlabama’s CEO, Kathie Hiers, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips on preventing the coronavirus
Bham Now published a guide on March 11th on how to prevent the coronavirus. Wise up and check it out.