Gov. Ivey extends safer-at-home, mask orders until Oct. 2

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MONTGOMERY – During a press conference held in Montgomery on Thursday, Aug. 27, Gov. Kay Ivey updated the state’s battle against COVID-19 and extended the current safer-at-home and mask orders until Friday, Oct. 2.

Set to expire on Monday, Aug. 31, Ivey extended the orders to make sure the state continues to see a downtick in coronavirus numbers.

“Folks, I understand you don’t want to wear the masks, I don’t either,” Ivey said. “I wish we didn’t have to wear masks, but we are seeing significant drops in our hospitalizations and daily positive COVID-19 numbers, and I have no doubt this is a result of our mask ordinance.”

Ivey said the mask mandate has been working across the state and extending the order as well as other precautions that come along with the safer-at-home order will continue to combat the virus until a vaccine is available.

“Wearing a mask is simply the right thing to do,” Ivey said. “When you wear a mask, you are protecting the people in your office, church school, and your vulnerable family and friends. I appreciate the efforts of our teachers and administrators who are going to great lengths to keep our students safe.”

Ivey also addressed the start of the 2020 football season during the press conference, talking about high school football, which is already under way, and college football, which gets started in September.

“We must wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart when we are with members not in our household. This includes high school football games, as well as college games when they kick off their seasons because we must remain committed to defeat this virus until a vaccine that will do just that,” Ivey said.

She also reminded all residents of the state that it is up to each person to do their part.

“Ultimately, it is up to each individual to do our part,” Ivey said. “If not for ourselves, do it for your family and friends. We all want to get back to normal and the way to do that means wearing a mask.

“This year certainly has not gone the way we thought it would. Our businesses have been disrupted, our school year has been altered significantly and we’ve lost loved ones because of this virus.”

But she also thanked the residents of the state because doing their part has led to a downward trend in cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

Currently there have been 112,794 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the virus’ first case in the state on March 13. Over the last 14 days there have been 11,669 new cases with 203,912 tests administered, which marks 5.7 percent of those tested testing positive. That’s down from almost 17 percent in mid-July when there were more than a thousand cases most days.

In Shelby County, the last 14 days have seen 434 new cases with 9,012 tests administered. The majority of those came on Tuesday, Aug. 25 with 105.

Beyond that, there have been no more than 47 cases on any day in the last two weeks with five days having less than 20 new cases.

So far, there have been 3,758 confirmed cases of the virus in Shelby County since March 13.

“Today, we are seeing the positive results for the sacrifices we are making,” Ivey said. “Let me again thank the people of Alabama for your understanding, for your patience, for your support and for your willingness to help us get through these difficult days.”

Daily average number of deaths are declining and daily hospitalizations are declining significantly and are as low as they’ve been since the Fourth of July holiday according to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, who also said the mask ordinance is working.

“All of that indicates that we have less transmission going on in the community,” Ivey said. “We believe the mask mandate is the reason for that. We have not had new restrictions imposed on the state since April other than the mask mandate and clearly that is the first thing that has caused improvement to this degree since that time.”

Ivey will update the state ahead of Oct. 2 once she determines if the orders will be extended.