By Zach Hester, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org (Photo via Alabama Governor's Office)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — On Thursday afternoon, Governor Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) and State Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris delivered an update regarding the state's progress on the fight against COVID-19.
The updated "Safer-At-Home" order, which lasts from Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. until July 3 will now be expanded to include the reopening of entertainment venues at 50% capacity and it will allow youth sports and athletic events to resume, though no direct competition between teams will be allowed until June 15. All other measures taken in last week's health order remain in effect.
Ivey stated it would be a long road to reopening the economy while maintaining social distancing. Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington is expected to deliver the unemployment numbers for April tomorrow, according to Ivey. More than 500,000 people in the State of Alabama have applied for unemployment over the last two months with $1 billion distributed in compensation.
Dr. Harris of Alabama Public Health stated there were more than 13,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in Alabama with a daily average around 350 cases. He noted the percent positive of tests had decreased, but advised Alabamians to remain vigilant in their social distancing and encouraged face coverings in public places.
More than 600 people are currently hospitalized in Alabama, with the hotspot of Montgomery facing a shortage of beds in their hospitals' intensive care units (ICU). Harris stated there was not a shortage statewide of beds or of ventilators.
Ivey also announced the State of Alabama had inked a deal with Apple and Google to use a contact tracing app to help Alabamians be alerted to who or who not has COVID-19 after coming in contact with them. The technology, which will be developed by public health experts, will also be used by the states of North Dakota and South Carolina, as well as countries like Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.