Gov. Ivey extends safer-at-home order as case count increases

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

MONTGOMERY – At a press conference on Tuesday, June 30, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris pleaded with the public to follow guidelines in relation to COVID-19, as Ivey extended the current safer-at-home order until July 31 at 5 p.m.

The current order was set to expire this Friday, July 3, at 5 p.m., but will now be extended until the end of the month as the state has seen a recent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases with the number of cases now sitting at 37,536.

“We’re learning how to live with this disease and need to do what we need to do to avoid another stay-at-home order,” Ivey said. “That means keeping 6 feet distance, stay at home unless you must get out to go to work for necessity and when you’re in public, for goodness sake, wear a mask.”

Ivey warned that our summer may feel more normal than the spring, but we aren’t back to normal yet.

“Fact is folks, we are still in the thick of this virus disease and it is deadly,” she said.

She then encouraged everyone to wear facemasks when in public to do their part in preventing the spread. She said herself and Harris could order the state to do masks, but it would be difficult to enforce.

“You shouldn’t have to order somebody to do something that is just in your best interest,” she said.

Ivey added that hospitals currently aren’t overwhelmed and said that while we have to take the virus seriously, our way of life has to go on safely.

“You cannot have a life without a strong livelihood,” she said. “Having a shut down for months was never my intent, it was also unsustainable. “We cannot sustain a delayed way of life even as we search for a vaccine. There are many viruses we live with already and we work the necessary precautions into our everyday lives. But let me encourage you to incorporate COVID-19 precautions into your daily routines.”

Ivey said that meant keeping 6 feet of distance, wearing facemasks when in public and relying on personal responsibility.

“It takes us all to be vigilant and adhering to these social distancing guidelines in order to stop the spread of this deadly disease,” she said.

She then went on to say Memorial Day could have contributed to a rise and urged everyone to be safe during the Fourth of July. If cases continue to rise drastically and hospitals become overwhelmed, Ivey said the state might have to reverse course to a stay-at-home order.

Harris said there is more testing being done than they have ever done, but that doesn’t necessarily account for the spike in cases as a higher percentage of those tested are testing positive.

“That shows us there is increased transmission within the community,” he said.

Currently, there have been 406,143 people tested with 37,566 cases, which marks a percentage of 9.2 testing positive. Aside from that, there are now 926 confirmed deaths, which means 2.5 percent of those who have tested positive have died from the disease, while 78.4 percent of those deaths have been in those 65 or older.