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Hospitals, doctors urge governor to extend Alabama mask rule

Kay Ivey | Photo: MGN Online

The Alabama Hospital Association and state doctors are urging Gov. Kay Ivey to extend a statewide rule requiring face masks in public.

Posted: Sep 28, 2020 3:34 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey should extend the statewide rule requiring face masks in public, which health officials credit with stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the head of the Alabama Hospital Association and a doctor's group said Monday.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 confirmed daily has fallen since reaching a high in the summer, and the reduction in the spread of the new coronavirus is all but certainly tied to the masking rule, which took effect in mid-July and is set to expire Friday, said Dr. Donald Williams, president of the association.

“The one thing that seems to have changed in the course of the pandemic is when the mask order was implemented," said Williamson. The association supports continuing the requirement through the end of the year and possibly longer, he said.

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, with about 5,000 member doctors, also supports extending the rule, executive director Mark Jackson said.

"It has helped mitigate some of the positive tests. Sometimes it is a hassle to wear, but we think it is worth the hassle,” he said.

Ivey and state health officials are weighing their options and will announce a decision this week, the governor's office said, but Ivey already has indicated she plans to keep the face mask order in place.

Speaking to Alabama Public Television in an interview aired Friday, Ivey said she knew some people have “grumbled” about the order, yet schools and businesses have reopened and unemployment has fallen since earlier in the pandemic.

“I don’t like the mask, either. My glasses fog up. It’s a pain in the rear. But at the same time it’s working, and what’s working we need to stick with,” Ivey said.

Alabama has seen about 2,500 deaths from COVID-19, which is caused by the new coronavirus, and some 153,000 cases of the illness. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of new cases in the state has decreased by 102 a day, a decline of 11.1%.

While most people develop only mild or moderate symptoms from the illness, it can be deadly to people with other serious health problems and the elderly.

During a news conference in Decatur, Mayor Tab Bowling urged residents to keep wearing masks in public, as required for anyone who isn't at least 6 feet (2 meters) from someone else, and noted that high school football coaches are wearing them on the sidelines during games.

“We ask that you do the same,” he said.

While state hospitals were so full of COVID-19 patients at one point they have only 9% of their intensive care beds available, Williamson said the numbers have fallen so much that 19% of ICU beds were available now.

Masks likely will be needed in public until an effective vaccine is distributed widely, which likely won't happen before 2021, he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309223

Reported Deaths: 7153
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21005250
Hinds19989411
Harrison17590303
Rankin13388277
Jackson13169243
Madison9965212
Lee9900170
Jones8319161
Forrest7554149
Lauderdale7232237
Lowndes6306144
Lamar614685
Lafayette6081118
Washington5296133
Bolivar4778130
Oktibbeha458097
Panola4461103
Pearl River4447142
Warren4310119
Marshall4302103
Pontotoc417672
Monroe4063132
Union405175
Neshoba4009176
Lincoln3892109
Hancock373785
Leflore3471124
Sunflower332090
Tate325984
Pike3226105
Scott311973
Yazoo305369
Alcorn301566
Itawamba297977
Copiah294365
Coahoma290779
Simpson290486
Tippah285368
Prentiss276659
Marion266479
Leake262473
Wayne261541
Grenada257385
Covington255380
Adams247082
Newton246161
George238947
Winston226181
Tishomingo222867
Jasper220248
Attala213673
Chickasaw205857
Holmes187272
Clay183354
Stone179733
Clarke178177
Tallahatchie176240
Calhoun165632
Yalobusha160236
Smith159734
Walthall131143
Greene129633
Lawrence126823
Noxubee126634
Montgomery125842
Perry125238
Amite121041
Carroll121026
Webster113932
Jefferson Davis105932
Tunica103425
Claiborne101430
Benton97525
Kemper95728
Humphreys94732
Franklin83123
Quitman78916
Choctaw74417
Wilkinson65329
Jefferson64928
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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Tupelo
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Starkville
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A strong cold front will pass through our area this evening. This will bring some very unseasonably cold air into our area for a few days. We will see some potential for some frosty conditions for tonight and for our Wednesday night.
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