President of the Alabama Hospital Association reacts to new ‘Safer at Home’ order

President of the Alabama Hospital Association reacts to new ‘Safer at Home’ order
Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the state of Alabama, but the governor’s approach to the virus has not changed, and local members of the medical community are reacting. (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the state of Alabama, but the governor’s approach to the virus has not changed and local members of the medical community are reacting.

Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday morning that she will extend the “Safer at Home” order to July 31, but she stopped short of making any new restrictions amid a growing number of new COVID-19 cases in the state.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said even though Alabama is testing more, COVID-19 cases are increasing and spreading more, leaving less room in ICUs for other types of patients.

In a proclamation, Governor Ivey states COVID-19 remains a serious public health threat, adding that it could take many months to develop an effective vaccine or treatment.

However, she says the initial measures taken to respond to COVID-19 are not sustainable over the long run.

The new “Safer at Home” order is virtually identical to the current one, leaving President of the Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson to wonder if the governor could have done more.

“At the end of the day, those are political decisions. They’re not pure public health decisions,” said Dr. Williamson. “From a public health perspective, we could have brought this pandemic under control. To do that, we would have had to have had everybody absolutely to shelter in place for thirty consecutive days. That probably would have eliminated the virus. That’s not practical. People have to get food. People have to work.”

Dr. Williamson said even with the best intentions, people are still putting themselves at risk of getting COVID-19 and he’s concerned that many more people will lose their lives from what he’s calling a largely preventable environment.

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