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Hospitals prep for changes with governor's extended mask mandate

The mask order will last until November 8th.

Posted: Sep 30, 2020 5:39 PM
Updated: Sep 30, 2020 10:43 PM

Alabama's mask order is now in place until November 8th as part of the extended Safer at Home order. That order also loosens restrictions in other areas like nursing home and hospital visitations.

"For those who want to see the mask go away I'm just asking you to please please please be patient," said Ivey.

Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey explained her decision to extend the statewide mask order to Nov. 8.

"The number of new cases each day has been consistently dropping since Dr. Harris and I implemented the mask order," said Ivey.

The public health department's Dr. Scott Harris said in the past two weeks the state's seen fewer new cases and hospitalizations. He also said the state's risk indicator map is showing improvement as well with only half a dozen counties considered "Very high risk."

"At this time we only have six red counties in the state. Those are counties where cases are increasing, so six out of 67 is encouraging to us. This mask ordinance is working," said Harris.

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Harris said masks are making the biggest difference when it comes to taking counties from high risk to low.

"There has been nothing added in our state other than the mask mandate and yet that's when we saw cases improve and they've improved since that time and we believe that's the main reason we're seeing an improvement," said Harris.

Two of the six high risk counties are in North Alabama. Lawrence and Limestone Counties are still in that category. The state will update that data on Friday.

The governor's order also allows patients in hospitals to have at least one visitor. Covid-19 patients will still not be allowed to have visiters. Helen Keller Hospital President, Kyle Buchanan, said in order to keep up with the new mandate there will be more people at the hospitals entrances to take temperatures.

"We're also looking at how to best monitor and make sure, again for the safety of our patients, staff and caregivers, to ensure that we do only have one at a time per the governor's mandate. We're working through a process to make sure that happens on a timely basis. So at all times we know Mrs. Johnson [made up name] has her one visitor and when that person leaves or exchanges with a sibling we can keep track of that," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said they are happy to see the governor extend the masking order.

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