Alabama’s Safer at Home order has been extended until July 31, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday. The order, intended to mitigate transmission of the coronavirus, was to have expired this Friday at 5 p.m. ahead of the Independence Day weekend.
“We have lost family and friends to this new aggressive virus,” Ivey said. “Several Alabamians have filed for unemployment due to losing their job. The Safer at Home order was issued so we could get our arms around the situation and keep our schools, businesses and individuals from spreading the virus.”
Due to the increasing numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across Alabama, Ivey believes the most effective way to combat the virus is to continue to social distance and for individuals who can stay home, stay home.
“We must continue to practice social distances and, for goodness’ sake, wear a mask,” Ivey said.
However, Ivey did not announce a mandate for wearing masks, although officials in some Alabama cities have implemented mask guidelines.
Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said approximately 130,000 Americans have lost their lives as a result of COVID-19. Roughly 900 of those Americans were Alabamians.
“Please continue to take this virus seriously,” Harris said. “As we are opening our state, remember this is not the time to let our guard down.”
Harris also reminded Alabamians the senior citizen population is still considered at a higher-risk level if they contract COVID-19.
“When it comes to COVID-19 and how it affects our citizens ages 65 and older, that age is looking at 1 in 9 chance of not surviving,” Harris said.
Testing sites have increased across the state according to Harris, and the number of confirmed cases in the state is rising.
“Hospitals are confirming more inpatients being treated,” Harris said. “We have more than 750 inpatients being treated for COVID-19 and more than 300 individuals are waiting on test results.”
Although the hospitals are seeing an increase in cases, hospitals across the state are not overwhelmed with cases at this time, Ivey said.
Alabama State Rep. Dexter Grimsley of Abbeville spoke about losing his sister to COVID-19 earlier this year.
“We don’t know when a vaccine will be available,” Grimsley said. “We don’t know when better medication will be available to treat the virus. But, we do know this virus is making people sick. We do know this virus is killing people. I encourage the state of Alabama to rely on what we do know. It’s not hard to wash your hands. It’s not hard to practice social distancing, and it’s not hard to wear a face mask. Today, I challenge Alabama to look at what we do know and use common sense. Protect yourself and protect others.”