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Gov. Kay Ivey issues statewide stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases rise

The Birmingham Times

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced a statewide stay-at-home order from the state health officer effective beginning Saturday, April 4 at 5 p.m. It will expire Thursday, April 30 at 5 p.m.

“Our expected surge in hospitalizations will occur in about two or three weeks and those patients are the ones who will become infected in the next few days,” Ivey said.

“Today I am convinced that our previous efforts to limit social interaction and reduce the chances of spreading this virus have not been enough,” the governor added. “And that’s why we’re taking this more drastic step.”

Residents in the state are allowed to leave their homes to obtain prescriptions or medical supplies and food and supplies for themselves and others they are caring for or their pets. They can leave to get necessities for their homes or their vehicles as well as for distance learning and education materials. They can also leave home for essential services or to attend religious services within certain constraints.

Other exceptions are allowed for those caring for others, going to work at “essential businesses” or doing limited work activity at other businesses. Outdoor activities that involve fewer than 10 people and six feet of distance between others are also allowed.

You can read the full order here

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) welcomed Ivey’s decision to issue a stay-at-home order. Jones has been a vocal proponent of social distancing measures and called for a stay-at-home order to be issued yesterday in a press conference in Birmingham.

“We now have a clear and unambiguous directive and message for all Alabamians to heed that places everyone’s health as our top priority,” Jones said in a statement. “While I wish this action had been taken earlier, we must now all come together to comply with the letter and spirit of the Governor’s order and minimize the spread of this virus.

“We can now turn our collective focus to ensuring we have the resources to test those who fear they have been infected, care for those who are sick, and protect health care and other essential workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.

Jones added,   “As Governor Ivey said, at least 200 Alabama health care workers are themselves infected with COVID-19. First responders have also tested positive. No words can express the appreciation we should have for these brave professionals. We will continue to work with FEMA and AEMA to ensure that the federal government is delivering the financial assistance and supplies they promised—in good condition—and immediately deliver the tests, PPE, and ventilators that Alabama needs.” 

The governor’s order also limits the number of people allowed in essential retailers such as grocery stores, pharmacies and big box stores to half of what the normal occupancy allowed by the fire marshal would be. While within the store, social distancing has to be practiced among customers and employees.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) was reporting 1,515 COVID-19 cases in 65 of the state’s counties, with only Geneva and Perry counties yet to have anyone test positive for the disease. The ADPH was reporting 38 deaths, with 21 of them confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19.

Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer, said anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will now be quarantined at home for 14 days and only allowed to leave to seek needed medical treatment.

www.alabamanewscenter contributed to this post. 

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