By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
For the first time ever, the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday held its weekly meeting virtually.
Councilors and other city officials met through WebEx, a web and video conferencing app, and streamed the meeting on the council’s Facebook page.
The decision came after a recent surge in coronavirus cases and one week after Mayor Randall Woodfin tested positive for the disease. The mayor was hospitalized Monday evening with COVID-19 pneumonia, but is in stable condition, according his personal physician.
“We have decided to go into virtual meetings as a result of an increase in case numbers,” said Kim Garner, spokesperson for the Birmingham City Council. “The council is monitoring the health crisis and consulting with health professionals regularly and for the time being we have decided to go into virtual meetings as a result.”
The council will keep the public updated on the status of in-person versus virtual meetings, said Garner.
In Woodfin’s absence, his chief of staff, Cedric Sparks gave the mayor’s report saying, “The mayor is in very great spirits.”
While hospitalized, the mayor has been in constant communication with senior leadership of the city and day to day operations have not been interrupted, said Rick Journey, a spokesperson for mayor.
Council President William Parker will host a tele-town hall meeting on Wednesday at 6 p.m. with faith leaders and medical experts to discuss COVID-19 in Birmingham. Citizens can call 602-580-9477 and use access code 484 41 54.