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Ivey extends mask order

With the statewide Safer at Home order set to expire in five days, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the order until Oct. 2 during her press conference on Thursday. This extension also extends the statewide mask order.

“I understand you don’t want to wear the masks, I don’t either,” Ivey said. “They make my glasses fog up, I can’t understand what people are saying because of the muffled effect that the mask has on conversations. I wish we didn’t have to wear masks, but we are seeing significant drops in our hospitalizations and daily positive COVID-19 numbers. I have no doubt that is a result of our mask ordinance. Wearing a mask is simply the right thing to do. We all want to get back to normal, and that means wearing a mask.” 

According to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama is approaching 113,000 confirmed cases since March. There have been about 14,000 hospitalizations and nearly 2,000 deaths statewide. 

“We are cautiously optimistic about what we’ve been seeing recently,” Harris said. “Since the governors’ mask mandate went into effect, we have definitely seen improvement in our daily number of new cases and the numbers of deaths are declining. The number of hospitalizations are declining significantly and are as low as they’ve been since before the Fourth of July holiday.”

According to Harris, the percentage of positive tests has also declined from around 17% in July to 8% now. 

“All those are indicating that we have less transmission in the community,” Harris said. “We believe the mask mandate is a reason for that. That clearly works.”

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Chambers County has had 860 confirmed cases, with 26 confirmed cases in the last 14 days. There have also been 38 deaths overall. 

Harris also warned about the start of flu season.

“It is really important as we have flu and COVID-19 circulating in our communities, that we have as many people protected as possible from influenza,” Harris said. 

With schools around the state starting back throughout the state during the month of August, Ivey gave her appreciation to the teachers and administrators who have the extra added duty of dealing with COVID-19 while teaching. 

“I appreciate our teachers and administrators who are going to great lengths to keep our students safe,” Ivey said. “It’s not easy to add another task on the top of teachers’ daily tasks.”

Harris and Ivey also both praised Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and The University of Alabama President Stewart Bell for taking precautions after more than 500 students tested positive for the virus. These precautions included closing bars and barring large gatherings of students.

“I would once again like to commend Tuscaloosa’s leadership for making the difficult decisions they made to focus on keeping their students safe while keeping them on campus,” Ivey said. “Ultimately, it is up to each individual to do our part.”

Ivey also announced that four Alabama National Guard Blackhawk helicopters were authorized to help with search and rescue efforts in Louisiana due to Hurricane Laura.