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Mask Mandate Extended through January 22
With cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on the rise Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday, Dec. 9, extended the statewide mask order through Jan. 22, 2021.
Gov. Ivey asked Alabamians to be smart and considerate of others. Despite the worsening conditions, Ivey said she is not considering reinstituting a lockdown on businesses. Ivey kept in place the easing of measures allowed in November which ended the customer capacity caps in retail stores and loosened restrictions on restaurants.
“In many ways, the only limitation on us is the mask,” Ivey said. She acknowledged masks were unpleasant but said they were necessary to decrease the spread of the virus. “Thank you for hanging in there and doing the right thing.”
Health Officer Scott Harris said that there were 2,100 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 500 more than the previous peak in July and that almost 4,000 Alabamians had died from the disease. “We are looking at some pretty dark days,” he said.
In hopeful news, the first vaccine doses will be arriving early next week, he said. Harris said he was confident of its safety, “I’ll take it myself and recommend it for my family to take it.”
However, an adequate supply of vaccine will not be widely available to the general public until early summer. Front line health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine along with residents of skilled nursing units. Even in that smaller universe, the vaccine will have to be rationed: there are about 300,000 health care workers statewide and only about 41,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected. That allotment will be followed shortly thereafter by the Moderna vaccine. Beyond the health care workers and nursing home residents, paramedics and other first responders have been prioritized to receive the early batches of vaccine.
“There is going to be a scarcity of vaccine,” Harris said. “We still have some tough weeks ahead of us. Stay home. If you do go out, wear your mask and stay six feet away from each other.”
A comprehensive collection of statistics are available at the Bamatracker website.
- Extended Safer at Home Order
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 1
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 2
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 3
- Twentieth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation
Alabama Department of Public Health provides daily updates to a dashboard displaying confirmed Coronavirus cases across the state. A series of tabs at the bottom of the map provide views of a variety of Coronavirus statistics, like daily trends and averages, rates by county, hospitalizations, and demographics of those affected.
A note of caution. The true extent of the virus is unknown. The number of confirmed cases does not equate to the prevalence of the virus in a county. Testing availability varies and results take time to process. One should assume that the virus is present and will spread unless protective measures are followed.
The New York Times is graphing the trajectory of the disease in various countries and U.S. states.
The visualization below is produced by the Centers for Disease Control and is compares weekly death totals from all causes in Alabama with the expected number produced by the normal death rate for the state. Data for the the most recent weeks is not complete but is continually updated. The graphs indicate that the weekly number of deaths has been consistently above the line of prediction since March when the Coronavirus pandemic began.
Need Help, Give Help
Statewide guide to COVID-19 relief efforts, altogetheralabama.org. includes a guide to resources for businesses, nonprofits, communities, and individuals. The offerings are vast from food assistance to finding a new job, to gaining internet access. Healthcare, childcare, unemployment relief, and emergency loans and grants for individuals and businesses can be found here.
The Governor’s Coronavirus Resource Site also has a wide array of additional information on the state government response.