The city of Mobile has agreed to test as many as 250 employees of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at its drive-in COVID-19 test center at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack said during a press briefing that conversations between the city and the county across the bay began about a week ago. Since Mobile already had the infrastructure in place, Mack said it was an easy decision.
“With what Mayor (Sandy) Stimpson has done with the testing at Ladd, we decided there was no need to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “We could be a partner and have our people tested.”
Mack said plans to test all 250 BCSO deputies and corrections officers began with 40 of the rapid serum blood tests Tuesday. Of those first 40, one employee tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, but tested negative for the active infection, he said. Thirty additional employees could be tested possibly as early as Friday, Mack said.
In addition, Mack said, he’s reached out to individual city police departments in the county to see if more first responders can be tested at Mobile’s site. He said conversations are ongoing.
“It only makes sense that we’re trying to address this from both sides of the bay because our people constantly go back and forth,” Mack said.
As for available tests, Stimpson said the city was provided 6,000 test kits from Synergy Laboratories and has ordered another 6,000 or so. So far, the city has given about 3,500 of those tests to local hospitals and clinics to allow them to test health care workers. Mack said in addition to the 250 BCSO employees, there are about another 400 law enforcement personnel in all of Baldwin County.
The city has also assisted the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office with testing of deputies, officers and inmates at Mobile Metro Jail, Executive Director of Public Safety James Barber said.
Stimpson said the city is monitoring the rate of new infections and hopes the city has found its peak earlier than expected. He told reporters the city would have a better idea about the numbers and trends at the start of next week.
When Asked, Stimpson said he’s talked to a very limited number of local businesses about what they expect when opening back up. He said the business owners he’s talked to are looking at a phased approach.
“Most realize that just because the doors are going to open doesn’t mean they’ll see the same level of business immediately,” he said. “They’re looking at a staged approach.”
As for when businesses might be able to reopen on a larger scale, Stimpson said that decision is up to Gov. Kay Ivey, who will either sign another order or rescind current orders already in place. A report by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force, regarding reopening guidelines and suggestions, is due to be delivered to Ivey tomorrow.
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