MONTHOMERY, Alabama (AP) – Separating with other Southern GP governors, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey extended the state’s masks order for another month on Thursday, but said the request would be finalized in April.
Following the recommendations of the medical staff, Ivy said that she would keep the order for masks, which will expire on Friday, April 9.
“We need to go through Easter and hope that more Alabama will fire their first shot before taking a step that some other countries have taken to completely remove the order of the masks and remove other restrictions. “People, we̵
The governor said masks were “one of our biggest tools” to prevent the spread of the virus, but stressed that it would not further expand the order for masks, saying it would be a matter of personal responsibility when the term ends. .
“Even when we raise the order for masks, I will continue to wear my mask while I am around others, and I urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same,” Ivy said.
So far, only about 13 percent of Alabama’s 4.9 million people have received a single dose of the vaccine, according to government figures.
State Health Officer Scott Harris said vaccine supplies were increasing and that if the state could receive a cumulative total of 1.75 million shots delivered by early April, that would be a “great place.”
Harris said about 500,000 people in the state tested positive for the virus, and there are probably others who had it but didn’t know it.
“We’re trying to reach that herd point of immunity at some point,” Harris said.
Health officials welcomed Ivy’s decision, recommending an extension, arguing that easing the restrictions before more people are vaccinated could reverse recent improvements. Alabama’s moving seven-day average daily morbidity has dropped from 3,000 in early January to below 1,000, and hospitalizations are at their lowest point since the summer.
“That’s great news. This gives us a month to vaccinate more people and better deal with the role of the UK option, ”said Dr Don Williamson, a former public health official who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association.
Dr Ellen Eaton, a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said schools and organizations serving people who have not yet received the vaccine will need to “think carefully about how to proceed” after the order is over.
“Many will need continued disguise, for example in schools and colleges. But leadership in these areas needs time to consider the health and political consequences of recommending masks in the absence of a mandate, “she said.
Ivy has faced political pressure to remove the mask order, as have some other Republican-led states. have done. Texas and neighboring Mississippi are easing health restrictions as the number of vaccinations increases and so do diseases associated with the new coronavirus decline. Extending the order for five weeks, Ivy stuck a political needle – following the recommendations of medical officials, but also informing people that there will be a firm deadline.
Some social media users shared the phone number in the governor’s office and wanted callers to oppose the rule. And the Alabama Senate approved a resolution Wednesday night calling for Ivy to end the mask’s term.
Republican Lieutenant Will Ainsworth also asked Ivy to end the mask requirement, which he had opposed all along, saying people could make decisions for themselves and follow safety rules as long as vaccinations and immunity levels were sufficient.
“But we can do all these things without having a Big Brother-style government mandate,” Ainsworth said in a statement.
The governor did remove some restrictions on how many people can sit as a table in the restaurant, but the tables must still be 2 meters away or have a barrier. The order also allows senior citizens to resume some activities and hospitals to increase the number of visitors that patients can have from one to two.
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