HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – More than 10,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Alabama and more than 500,000 have been infected with the virus.
While the numbers are daunting, Huntsville Hospital says vaccinations are accelerating across the state and the number of COVID-related hospitalizations continue to decline.
After April 9, businesses will have the choice whether they’ll have their employees and customers wear masks.
Huntsville Hospital will still require everyone to wear a mask in their facilities after the state’s mandate expires.
About 15 percent of Alabama’s population have received at least their first vaccine shot and the number of folks who’ve gotten their second shot is about 9 percent.
While Jeff Samz, Huntsville Hospital’s C.O.O., says he doesn’t expect the state to have 70 to 80 percent of its population inoculated by April 9, Samz says he’s relieved the mask mandate didn’t expire last week.
Samz says he’s grateful for the weeks people have to prepare to implement their own plans.
While light is at the end of the tunnel, Samz says now isn’t the time to completely drop common-sense practices such as wearing masks around the sick and elderly.
“It’s really exciting and optimistic and just, lets finish this thing and keep our guard up as long as is necessary,” he said. “Nobody wants to go through another surge. We’re all just holding our breath as the numbers keep improving.”
Samz commends Governor Kay Ivey for not suddenly dropping the mask mandate like some other states have.
He says it’s common courtesy to wear a mask around vulnerable populations after April 9.