Alabama mayor diagnosed with COVID-19 dies as cases surge

Coronavirus

CLANTON, Ala. (AP/WDHN) — A longtime Alabama mayor diagnosed with the disease caused by the new coronavirus has died.

The Clanton Fire Department announced on its Facebook page Thursday that Mayor Billy Joe Driver had died while fighting COVID-19. The 84-year-old Driver served with the department before becoming mayor of the central Alabama town of 8,800 people in 1984.

News outlets report that Driver had been hospitalized since late June. His death comes as cases are increasing in the state as the virus spreads through communities.

Governor Kay Ivey issued the following statement on Driver’s death:

Today, the state of Alabama lost a valued public servant of many years, Mayor Billy Joe Driver. After his battle with COVID-19, Mayor Driver passed on to his eternal home. He will truly be missed in his home of Clanton, but also by many of us across the state. I offer my heartfelt prayers to his loved ones, friends and the city of Clanton in their tremendous time of loss.

More than 1,100 people are currently hospitalized statewide with the disease, and an increasing percentage of people are testing positive for the illness.

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