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Governor Ivey issues ‘limited’ State of Emergency due to COVID-19

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 4:09 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Effective immediately, Governor Ivey issued a State of Emergency based on the surge in COVID-19 cases in Alabama.

She says this comes as an effort to support the state’s frontline heroes. Ivey calls this a “limited” state of emergency, not accompanied by a public health order.

The governor is very clear, this emergency order does not include a mask mandate or any business closures. But the president of the Alabama Hospital Association tells us this state of emergency is essential for hospitals to care for the rapidly rising number of patients.

Only 39 ICU beds are left in the entire state of Alabama as of August 13. Almost half of those are filled with COVID-19 patients.

Governor’s Ivey’s emergency declaration issued Friday addresses that.

Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association says this move was critical.

“It does not solve the problem. It doesn’t create new bodies to take care of patients. But it gives us the flexibility to bring all the resources of the hospital to bear for the patients that they are trying to serve,” Dr. Williamson said.

Some of those being:

“Under this order, we’ll be able to use nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, CRNAS in any place in the hospital where we need them. It’ll allow a hospital to convert a part of the hospital that hasn’t been used for intensive care into an intensive care unit,” Williamson said.

Essentially, it removes state approval, which hospital administrations have to wait on in certain situations. But, unlike other emergency orders issued by the governor in the past, this does not mandate masks or close businesses.

Governor Ivey says, “Alabama remains open for business. Alabamians do not need the government telling us what to do or how to do it.”

Meanwhile, there’s a full class of new nursing students at Calhoun Community College training to join the health care community.

“It has inspired as many people to go into healthcare as it has moved people away from health care. We’re blessed that students are still wanting a career in healthcare. And they’re dedicated, obviously they’re dedicated or they wouldn’t choose to go into this career at this time,” says Bret McGill, Dean of Health Sciences at Calhoun Community College.

Governor Ivey issued the following statement:

“I am really proud that over the last month, Alabama has seen more than a 100% increase – the highest in the country – in covid-19 vaccines being administered. We owe those who have gotten the vaccine a tremendous debt of gratitude. No doubt, this will soon move us in the right direction, but at the current time, we also need to offer our frontline heroes – who are unfortunately treating a new wave of patients in Alabama’s hospitals – a helping hand as they put it all on the line to take care of our people.

“That is exactly what we are doing in issuing this limited, narrowly-focused state of emergency. I want to be abundantly clear: there will be absolutely no statewide mandates, closures or the like. This state of emergency is strategically targeted at removing bureaucracy and cutting red tape wherever we can to allow our doctors, nurses and hospital staff to treat patients that come through their doors.

“Let me be crystal clear: Alabama remains open for business. Alabamians do not need government telling us what to do or how to do it. Unlike last year when we were hoping for a miracle, our greatest weapon against covid-19 today is the vaccine, so, if you can, roll up your sleeve and get the shot.”

This emergency proclamation is aimed at easing burdens on health care providers and making government more responsive.

  • Easing burdens on healthcare providers: The proclamation will relax regulatory burdens to allow expanded capacity in healthcare facilities, additional liability protections, increased authority for frontline health care personnel and easier shipment of emergency equipment and supplies.
  • Making government more responsive: The proclamation will enable government, at all levels, to adapt to the COVID-19 surge. For example, one provision will allow expedited purchases of emergency-related equipment, while another will allow governmental bodies to meet remotely, subject to transparency rules

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