Order extended as confirmed case count continues to climb
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued to climb this week, prompting Gov. Kay Ivey to extend her Safer at Home Order through 5 p.m. July 31. The original order, issued May 22, was set to expire this Friday, July 3, at 5 p.m.
The action came after almost 4,000 more Alabamians, including 58 Escambia County residents, tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the report issued last Friday, June 26, by state and county health officials. The increase brings the state total to 36,682 (with 905 deaths) and the county total to 248 (with 6 deaths).
The governor, who “strongly urged” the wearing of masks outside the home but admitted that a mask mandate would be “impossible to enforce,” talked about the “physical, mental and emotional pain” caused by the “aggressive, deadly virus.” She encouraged Alabama residents to practice social distancing and personal health protocols while wearing a facemask when venturing outside the home.
“We are still in the thick of this virus, this disease, and it is deadly,” Ivey said, urging individuals to do their part, “even at the beach, at the lake or out with friends.”
The complete text of Gov. Ivey’s amended order can be viewed at www.atmorenews.com and on the Atmore News Facebook page.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris encouraged Alabamians to “please continue to take this seriously” and noted that “this is not the time to let our guard down.”
Locally, Escambia County’s confirmed case count climbed to 248, up from the 190 cases reported June 26. The number of specimens taken within the county increased by 189, up to 2,267.
The collection of samples at Atmore Community Hospital increased to 899, with 708 negative results, 67 tests for which results are pending and two tests that were inconclusive.
D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital in Brewton has reported 28 confirmed cases, up from 20 on June 26. The hospital has collected 430 specimens, with 390 negative results, 11 tests pending and one inconclusive test.
The increase in confirmed cases has forced some local businesses and other entities to revert to the provisions of the Stay at Home Order issued by the governor in mid-March.
David’s Catfish, which had resumed indoor dining with restrictions, has now gone back to drive-through or carry-out only; First National Bank & Trust and West Escambia Utilities have again closed their lobbies to the public.
Mayor Jim Staff said city officials would “wait and see what the governor says” before deciding on again closing Atmore City Hall to the public.