Your Thursday Outlook in Tuscaloosa
1) West Alabama and the entire state is experiencing significant flu activity. Now, add to that other respiratory viruses like COVID19 and RSV and you can understand why healthcare officials like Alabama Hospitals Assn. President Dr. Donald Williamson is concerned, "The hospitals I've talked to tell me they are busy but not overwhelmed for now."
Dr. Williamson worries that the growing number of “Tripledemic” will soon overwhelm those hospitals. A number of schools in West Alabama have switched to remote learning due to increasing numbers of students and faculty contracting the flu and RSV.
2) Alabamians could get a tax rebate check from the state next year due to a surplus in revenue that our state got this year, but the Alabama Policy Institute says there could be a better option. They suggest lawmakers using the money to fund underfunded state programs such as the State Disaster Fund, which has no money in it.
The API says our state government collected over $13 billion in fiscal year 2022, which was over their budgeted amount. State lawmakers are now trying to figure out what to do with the $2 billion surplus.
3) The University of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority are jointly hosting a summit Friday on the emerging power and mobility economy in the region.
The summit aims to provide stakeholders and policymakers in West Alabama with information on emerging industries and economic development around electric vehicles and required infrastructure while highlighting how major research initiatives at UA can diversify economic opportunities.
4) The Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency is receiving a $25,000 grant for Community Emergency Response Team training. CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may occur where they live. It trains volunteers in basic disaster response skills, such as: Fire safety. Light search and rescue.
The program offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on as ancillary responders during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.