MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama passed a grim milestone Wednesday, just 10 days before it marks a full year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the state.
The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the pandemic-related death toll passed 10,000 on Wednesday.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Alabama on March 13, 2020, when a Montgomery resident tested positive for the respiratory illness. Since that moment, almost a half million more cases have been confirmed.
But there is growing hope that the pandemic could be halted with the help of several vaccines developed by Moderna, Pfizer and J&J.
As of Wednesday, Alabama has received about 1.4 million vaccine doses and about 972,000 doses, or about 69 percent, have been administered. So far, those vaccines have been from Moderna and Pfizer, which require a second dose.
On Wednesday, medical professionals took part in their third day of giving second doses of the Pfizer vaccine at a mass clinic at the old Montgomery mall.
Alabama is now waiting on the first batch of 40,000 doses of the newly approved single shot vaccine from J&J.
MeanwhIle, Alabama’s current health order, which includes masks and occupancy limits in stores and restaurants, expires Friday.
Several states, including Texas and Mississippi, have dropped their health orders as cases have plummeted. Gov. Kay Ivey will make her decision on whether to extend Alabama’s order or let it expire during a Thursday news conference at 11 a.m.
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who has been a vocal opponent of the mask order, is calling on Ivey to drop it while she’s being urged by medical professionals and the Alabama Hospital Association to extend it.
Asked about Texas and Mississippi dropping their mask orders on Wednesday, President Joe Biden sparked controversy when he said it’s “Neanderthal thinking” that you can take your mask off and forget right now.