Medical experts say face covering mandate still needed in Alabama

Should statewide mask mandate be extended?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s the final week of the mandatory face covering order currently in place from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. The governor is expected to update us later this week if she will extend the order or not.

Jefferson County and state health department leaders all agree that face masks have helped bring down the number of positive COVID cases in the state and in the county. With the ordinance expiring Oct. 2, they don’t believe now is the time to end the mandate.

Coronavirus positive cases have dropped, but not at the rate where health officials feel comfortable just yet. In Jefferson County, the positivity rate is around 11%. Health leaders want that to be under 5%. They will tell you working in combination with social distancing and hand washing is working.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said he is seeing the public adopt these measures as a safety standard. Wilson can, under state law, issue his own mandate for face covering for the county.

“Certainly hope the governor supports a mask order going through the fall. I want to at the very least make a strong recommendation for us to continue to use masks,” Wilson said.

Dr. Wilson said his agency has come under fire from some who object to all the restrictions he and the state have required for face coverings and on businesses, but it’s necessary.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the face masks are still needed as those numbers continue to drop.

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