Members of lead Rose Parade band test positive for COVID-19

Jan 7, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: 6:17 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Members of a 410-person Alabama high school marching band that led off this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade with “Yankee Doodle Dandy” have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning home from California.

Now the entire school has switched to virtual classes this week because of an outbreak.

An email sent to band parents at Homewood High School and obtained by The Associated Press didn’t say how many students were infected. The district does not release COVID-19 case numbers by class or organizations, Merrick Wilson, a spokesperson for the Homewood school system in suburban Birmingham, said Friday.

Wilson said the district sends reports about COVID-19 cases to the Alabama Department of Public Health, but officials with both the state and county health departments said they were unaware of any problem at the school.

Alabama has one of the nation’s highest rates of positive results on COVID-19 tests at nearly 44%, and that doesn’t include people using at-home tests. With more than 16,580 dead from the illness statewide, Alabama has the nation’s third-highest COVID-19 death rate, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The Homewood school system cited an unusually large number of cases at the high school in announcing a suspension of in-person classes on Tuesday, the same day band parents were notified about an unspecified number of positive tests following the trip to Pasadena, California, for the Jan. 1 parade.

“We apologize for this late notice, but we have continued to receive additional reports of positive cases this afternoon and evening. We understand this is not ideal, but we believe eLearning at HHS this week will limit the possible exposure to anyone who may be a close contact to the positive individuals,” said a note from the superintendent, Justin Hefner, posted on the system’s website.

Hefner’s public Twitter feed includes photos from the California trip that show band members and others in close proximity on a bus and elsewhere and many not wearing face masks, which are recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Health officials say social distancing and masks have become even more important because of the omicron variant, which is more contagious than earlier versions of the virus.

Candy Carlson, communications director for the Tournament of Roses, said the organization was saddened to hear about Homewood’s cases though officials weren’t given any information indicating those resulted from the band’s trip to Pasadena.

“The recent surge of COVID-19 as a result of the omicron variant is concerning for all of us. However, we are confident that our strict COVID-19 related protocols enabled us to mitigate those impacts for our parade participants and patrons,” the statement said.

It added that of the more than 6,500 participants in this year’s parade, 91% were vaccinated and the other 9% were required to provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours of the event.

The Homewood Patriot Band, billed as Alabama’s largest high school band and known for its tricorn hats, has made made four previous appearances in the New Year’s Day parade.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to the media after Gov. Tony Evers addressed a jo...
Associated Press

Post-Roe differences surface in GOP over new abortion rules

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — When the U.S. Supreme Court repealed in June a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, Wisconsin’s 1849 law that bans the procedure except when a mother’s life is at risk became newly relevant. Republicans in the Legislature blocked an attempt by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to overturn the law. Yet there’s […]
21 hours ago
A cow crosses the Jordan River near Kibbutz Karkom in northern Israel on Saturday, July 30, 2022. S...
Associated Press

Mideast’s Jordan River: Rich in holiness, poor in water

ALONG THE JORDAN RIVER (AP) — Kristen Burckhartt felt overwhelmed. She needed time to reflect, to let it sink in that she had just briefly soaked her feet in the water where Jesus is said to have been baptized, in the Jordan River. “It’s very profound,” said the 53-year-old visitor from Indiana. “I have not […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: August 18, 19th Amendment is ratified

Today in History Today is Thursday, Aug. 18, the 230th day of 2022. There are 135 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Aug. 18, 1587, Virginia Dare became the first child of English parents to be born in present-day America, on what is now Roanoke Island in North Carolina. (However, the […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Heavy rains pelt New Zealand, forcing hundreds to evacuate

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Heavy rain continued to pelt New Zealand on Thursday, causing further disruptions and road closures from a storm that has already forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. Residents in the northern part of North Island found themselves isolated after landslides, fallen trees and floodwaters blocked highway access. The […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on April 29, 2021, in Las Vegas. S...
Associated Press

Nevada gov vows to codify order protecting patients into law

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday that if he wins re-election he would seek to codify in law next legislative session an order he signed that protects in-state abortion providers and out-of-state patients. “Governors are the last line of defense in protecting reproductive freedoms,” he said. “The buck stops with us.” […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Visitors review new Asus computer products at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, Tue...
Associated Press

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan in new show of support

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. government plans talks with Taiwan on a wide-ranging trade treaty in a sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy claimed by China’s ruling Communist Party as part of its territory. The announcement Thursday comes after Beijing held military drills that included firing missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Members of lead Rose Parade band test positive for COVID-19