The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is growing exponentially around the U.S., with more and more deaths related to the virus happening every day.

It’s no different in Alabama, as cases have gone up to 517 according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. That’s out of 4,082 tests reported to ADPH. The amount of tests is most likely much higher, but the official number is skewed because private labs do not have to report negative tests to the health department.

One person in Jackson County died Wednesday from the virus, according to ADPH. Department officials said the patient had underlying health problems and died in a facility out of state.

Tuscaloosa County has 19 confirmed cases of the virus, while Jefferson County next door has 159 confirmed cases.

In a news conference at 4 p.m. today, Alabama Gov, Kay Ivey announced Alabama schools are remaining closed for the rest of the year.

Alabama’s public kindergarten through 12th-grade schools were last in session March 18, and the State Board of Education’s plan at the time was to reopen April 6. That plan is no longer feasible, said State Superintendent Eric Mackey.

Instead, plans will be catered to each school system moving forward, because different schools have different student needs.

“One of the things we are going to be able to offer is distance learning through online learning on digital platforms, but we’re also going to be able to offer take-home packets,” Mackey said.

Alabama Public Television will broadcast classes for all age levels in hopes that the platform can reach students who don’t have a broadband connection for online learning.

Mackey said he is holding a meeting with the state’s superintendents Friday morning.

Watch the full news conference below.[0]=68.ARDe3L56Hy9lLpahaiZobkOyIhxSBX4i7WWuN-CM9YygfTF8UFnIkeqns_hzNve87Fw2YysJYF_1F3kgmSd4b2ZMZ9abJ4ZOzv7-mvZd2dRDu_NY_RmMkMYcpabY_Fmo61VekCqRl0P9CdX0QQp9UTJxTPsLj6Ot3m8zRfkpK7YEDvrGSwQfRJnBRsCREi_1dWaCDiDGVLGSH4Cp64noyXfEMeaP9ta89kwA4TaN8cMdolZKWJi0WH8FuqrmrsRxYAJlbuGyaNSVdp5EwBw6gmPQjWHWovL8KUijt8aW_7ZPc5ei2Br-kGDGvcYjP5va5wRbvmrfXu_QG9dQa4jl2ftevCNA2A&__tn__=-R

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