Governor says no to state as Birmingham shelters in place

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 7:11 PM CDT
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The Birmingham City Council, with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state, has passed a shelter-in-place order. It does not apply to first responders, utilities contractors/employees, people seeking essential services such as groceries or medicine, federal, state, county or city employees. According to the ordinance, all nonessential businesses must comply with the new restrictions. Employees at essential businesses are allowed to report to work.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, though, insists that she has no plans to issue a shelter-in-place order. “We're not California, we're not New York, we're not even Louisiana,” she said. Those states are among those that have ordered their millions of residents to remain home, except under certain circumstances.

Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris spoke with journalists during a conference call Tuesday that addressed a myriad of coronavirus subjects.

Among them—the stress COVID-19 is putting on Alabama hospitals. Harris said some—he wouldn't identify them---are at their tipping point with high numbers of patients.

“We have been planning for sometime for the possibility of a hospital surge. We have a group that is meeting and putting together requirements of how we would expand in an emergency (situation),” Dr. Harris said. Temporary hospital space is under consideration.

Ivey agrees with President Trump that things need to become more normal soon. However, she warned residents against venturing far from home, even to visit relatives and acquaintances.

““i would ask these folks if it's absolutely necessary that if they are going to visit their family and friends in the middle of a pandemic you visiting family members can place you or someone else at risk. We want to keep our economy moving for sure but that means we have to take extra precautions in doing so,” Ivey said.