BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
Although 2021 held so much promise for a release from a nearly year-long pandemic, it has yet to bring an end to COVID-19.
In fact, on Thursday, Jan. 21, Governor Kay Ivey extended her Safer at Home order for Alabama.
“A great many of us had hoped that when we began the new year,” Ivey said during a televised press conference about the order extension, “we no longer would have to incorporate things like face masks and social distancing in our daily lives, but after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, COVID-19 numbers and the number of hospitalizations were higher than ever, more than our highest point from last summer.
“At one point last week, of the 1,600 ICU beds in our state, 1,561 were occupied. Folks, that means that only 39 ICU beds were available for COVID-19 or cancer patients or folks involved in severe accidents.
“As of Wednesday, our seven-day average for the new COVID-19 cases was 2,666 per day. That’s far below the spiking cases recorded earlier this month following Christmas, but way above averages recorded two, three, and even four months ago.
“With that news, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dr. Harris and I are here today to extend the current order with no changes for another six weeks until March 5.”
Ivey went on to explain that wearing masks has been the one thing all Alabamians can do that can help keep people healthy.
She also reminded listeners to stay inside as much as possible, to wash one’s hands regularly, and to wear masks.
Governor Ivey then discussed the status of COVID-19 vaccines in the state.
“On January the 8th, we announced that in addition to our medical professionals and our residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities who are currently eligible to receive the vaccines,” said Ivey, “our first responders and people 75 years of age and older would also be eligible.
“Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough vaccines for everyone who wants one; in fact, no state does.”
Ivey said she encourages patience while the companies working on the vaccines continue to make more.
She ended her part of the press conference by thanking the citizens of Alabama for their efforts in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We will get through this thing together,” she said.