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Dothan-Houston County officials stress mask wearing at COVID-19 update

Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba speaks during a coronavirus briefing on March 17, 2020.
Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba speaks during a coronavirus briefing on March 17, 2020.(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 8:24 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Wear your mask---that's a stern warning from top local government officials.

“Do you sacrifice something that you may not like to do because it just might help somebody else in the community,?” Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba asked at a Mondaypress briefing.  While admitting there are polarizing views on masks, he hopes people would set aside personal feelings in hopes of reducing the spiraling number of coronavirus cases.

There is causing serious issues, straining hospitals that are reaching capacity.  "Our biggest issue is in critical care," said Southeast Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Harkness.   If Southeast Health and Flowers Hospital exceed patient capacity, several alternative medical sites will be activated.  However, Harkness is cautiously confident that won't happen.  

As of Monday, there have been about 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama and about 1500 have died statewide. The number of positive cases continues to escalate at an alarming rate. 

Governor Ivey made face coverings mandatory two weeks ago but, so far, there has been little impact to coronavirus numbers and the law generally is not enforced.   

Houston County Chairman Mark Culver hopes businesses will require face coverings before allowing patrons in their stores. At present, some require them while others don’t make them mandatory.  Culver admits, ultimately, that responsibility, though,  lies with the public.”Let’s do our part, let’s do it right. To me the most important thing and, to me, most importantly let’s be kind to each other,” he said.

Governor Ivey’s emergency that limits capacity and mandates the wearing of masks expires Friday.  She is expected to extend that order for several more weeks and could issue additional guidelines in hopes of curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Houston County Chairman Mark Culver urges the use of face coverings in this May 28, 2020 photo.
Houston County Chairman Mark Culver urges the use of face coverings in this May 28, 2020 photo.(WTVY News 4)

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