MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey has announced an extension to the Safer at Home health order for the state. That includes a directive to continue wearing face coverings.
There is one specified difference in the amended order. That change is specifically for hospitals and nursing homes. The order now says patients and and residents will now be allowed visits from one caregiver or visitor at a time. Ivey did clarify that there may be circumstances where a facility may still restrict this and may still not allow visitors. But there must be a specific reason for that limitation.
The order specifically reads:
Effective October 2, 2020, all hospitals and Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living Facilities) shall ensure that each patient or resident may be accompanied by one care giver at a time (in the case of hospitals) or receive visits from one visitor at a time (in the case of nursing homes and long term care facilities), subject to reasonable restrictions imposted on the entrance of persons because of the COVID-19 County positivity rate, the facility’s COVID-19 status, a patient’s or resident’s COVID-19 status, caregiver/visitor symptoms, lack of adherence to proper infection control practices, or other relevant factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with the following guidance from the federal government:
- For hospitals: “Hospital Visitation – Phase II Visitation for Patients who are Covid-19 Negative” issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on June 26, 2020, and available at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-hospital-visitation-phase-ii-visitation-covid-negative-patients.pdf.
- For nursing homes: “Nursing Home Visitation – COVID-19” issued by CMS on September 17, 2020, and available at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh.pdf.
- For assisted living facilities and specialty care assisted living facilities: “Nursing Home Visitation – COVID-19” issued by CMS on September 17, 2020, and available at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh.pdf, with the exception of the requirement that “resident and staff testing [be] conducted as required at 42 CFR 483.80(h).”
Ivey said she felt it was important to extend the mask ordinance through the date of the General Election in November. She wanted to make sure the residents in the state of Alabama felt safe to go to the polls.
Along with the extended Safer at Home order, Governor Ivey issued a Supplemental State of Emergency proclamation that relates directly to the November General Election. It states that training for poll workers may happen virtually; either through live or recorded video or telephone call. It also allows for county commissions to pay poll workers, student interns and absentee election managers in a way established by the Secretary of State.
Finally, in relation to the General Election in November, the proclamation states that absentee poll workers may start opening at counting all absentee ballots beginning at 7:00 a.m. on election day.
Secretary of State John Merrill released a statement today praising the governor for the ability start processing absentee ballots early in the day in order to provide the state with timely unofficial election results. He also indicated that student poll worker interns will be compensated $50 for working on Election Day using funds from the CADES Act.
The Safer at Home order will remain in place until November 8th at 5:00 p.m.