FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, file photo, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin speaks at a candlelight vigil in Birmingham, Ala. Officials say the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, has been hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia, five days after announcing he tested positive for coronavirus. (Joe Songer/The Birmingham News via AP, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The mayors of at least four Alabama cities, including heavily populated Birmingham, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as the illness spreads rapidly across the state following the holidays.

The city of Birmingham said Mayor Randall Woodfin was admitted to a hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia Monday, five days after announcing he tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said he was quarantining at home after tested positive for the virus, and the city of Auburn said Mayor Ron Anders was in quarantine after testing positive. Florence Mayor Andy Betterton also was infected.

Woodfin, 39, was "in good spirits and thanks everyone for the well wishes, the City of Birmingham tweeted.

Bowling, 62, told the Decatur Daily he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus and each received an infusion of monoclonal antibodies Sunday.

Bowling, who has held regular news conferences to provide updates on the pandemic in the Tennessee Valley city, said felt guilty about participating in holiday family gatherings with his adult children and their families over the holidays.

“I made a mistake and spent time with our family. We had Christmas together. We had meals together and sat around the table and we were not practicing the guidelines,” he said. “With that, now we have sickness. I believe that (family members outside our household) were the last to get it, so quite likely they received it from us. I certainly hope they’ll be OK.”

The city of Auburn said Anders tested positive for the coronavirus over the holiday weekend.

“I look forward to getting back to work for Auburn in person in the very near future, once I have tested clear,” Anders said in a statement. “I just want to remind everyone to keep your masks on, keep up your social distancing and keep those hands washed, because anyone can be exposed to this virus.”

Betterton told the TimesDaily his father, Andrew Jack Betterton, died of COVID-19 before Christmas. “He had been in the nursing home, and I didn't even get to see him,” Betterton said.

Alabama on Tuesday for the second straight day hit a new high for the number of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals with 3,080 being treated. The new peak came as health officials feared a new surge of cases in the wake of the winter holidays.

Since the pandemic began, the state health department has reported more than 379,000 confirmed and probable virus cases and at least 4,886 confirmed and probable virus deaths in Alabama.


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