State Health Officer talks latest coronavirus cases, extended state mask ordinance


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — During CBS 42’s news at 5 p.m., Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris spoke about the latest coronavirus cases and the number of in-patients in Alabama hospitals as cases continue to rise in the state amid the pandemic.

“We’re concerned about the number of new cases that we’re seeing just in the last couple of weeks,” Harris said. “Well over 20,000 cases out of our 80,000 or so that we’ve seen so far have occurred in the last two weeks.”

Harris said Alabama hospitals have had record numbers of in-patients that are COVID-19 positive and the situation is not one that can be sustainable for a long duration.

As far as students returning to school this Fall, Harris said he feels like the state health department wants students to return to school as long as it is safe. Face-to-face learning is the best way for students to learn, Harris said. However, he wants students and faculty to be safe and the decision to choose virtual learning versus in-person instruction will be left up to the individual school districts.

Wednesday, July 29, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the state’s mask order until August 31. Harris believes, along with other medical professionals and public health officials, that masks really do work.

“I can’t imagine how much worse our numbers would be if we weren’t having people [wear masks],” Harris said.


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