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Mask ordinance extended through Nov. 8th; Hospital and nursing home restrictions eased

Governor Kay Ivey extended her health order including a statewide mask ordinance through November 8th as part of Alabama’s continued efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’ve heard from a lot of you and I hear you but I look forward to lifting the mask order as much as you do, if not more and hopefully that can be sooner, not later,” said Ivey acknowledging the frustration among many Alabamians eager to return to a sense of normalcy. 

Ivey’s announcement kept virtually all of Alabama’s Safer At Homer order in place. The new order did ease restrictions on hospitals and nursing homes by allowing patients and residents to  be visited by one caregiver or visitor at a time.

Nursing homes are still subject to a series of federal restrictions issued in September by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The regulations state a facility must go 14 days without any positive COIVD-19 tests of staff or patients. If a positive test occurs, the clock starts all over again. Indoor visitation is also prohibited for any facility located in a county with a 10% positivity rate. 

The decision comes a day after the Alabama ABC Board voted to remove an 11 p.m. last call on alcohol sales. The restriction was put in place in late July on the recommendation of Governor Kay Ivey and public health officials.

“It was a business killer” said ABC administrator H. Mac Gipson after the vote.

READ: Alabama ABC Board rescinds 11 p.m. last call for bars, restaurants

Dr. Debroah Birx, the coordinator of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, advised Ivey extend Alabama’s face mask ordinance during a meeting last week. 

“If you look at what happened within two weeks of the mask mandate, you can see the dramatic decline in cases here in Alabama,” Birx said. “We talked about the importance of keeping those mitigations strong through the fall to get through this fall together, to ensure that people are immunized for flu to really protect one another, keep the rates down, get the rates down even further. Alabama’s test positivity is really dropping, really improving, but we’ve got to do even more.

READ: Dr. Deborah Birx calls for Alabama’s face mask order to be extended

Source Article

Alabama COVID mask order extended to Nov. 8

Update:

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is extending the order requiring facial coverings in public places until Nov. 8.

The governor announced the extension at a press conference today in Montgomery.

Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris issued the mask order effective July 16 as the state saw increasing numbers of coronavirus cases. The order was extended twice, most recently on Aug. 27, and was set to expire Friday. It is now extended through Sunday, Nov. 8.

Ivey mentioned the national election as one reason for extending the order past Nov. 3.

“I want everyone to (vote) and to be able to do it safely,” she said, adding that Alabama’s coronavirus case numbers saw consistent decline after the mask order was instituted.

The mask order requires people to wear coverings over their nostrils and mouth when within 6 feet of people from another household in indoor spaces open to the public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor space where 10 or more people are gathered. Masks are not required for children 6 and younger, people with a medical disability that prevents wearing a mask, people voting, or those “actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship.”

Ivey also announced changed in policies that limited visitors to hospitals and long-care term facilities, including nursing homes.

Effective Oct. 2, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities may allow each patient or resident to be accompanied by one caregiver or visitor at a time.

Alabama currently has 154,701 COVID-19 cases, 137,564 confirmed and 17,137 probable.

Earlier:

Gov. Kay Ivey is planning a press conference today to provide an update on the state’s battle against coronavirus.

Ivey will be joined by State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris for the 11 a.m. press conference. The press conference is being live streamed, below. The announcement comes as Alabama’s mandatory facial covering order is set to expire on Friday. Ivey has indicated she plans on extending the order.

“Yes it has, and I know a lot of folks grumbled about it and still are,” Ivey said in an interview last week when asked about people being upset over the mask requirement. “But look. It’s working. Our students and teachers are back in school. Our businesses are open. We’ve got one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. And y’all it’s working, and so we’ve just got to keep on being strong.”

Alabama has seen a decrease in new daily cases, hospitalizations and the rate of positive tests since the order was put in place in mid-July.