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Governor Kay Ivey extends COVID-19 help for hospitals

Kay Ivey
Kim Chandler/AP
FILE - In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announces the extension of a state order requiring face masks in public during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. Ivey’s chief of staff is quarantining at home after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola said Friday, Aug. 14, that Ivey’s Chief of Staff Jo Bonner does not have symptoms but is in quarantine at home. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)

Alabama’s COVID-19 state of emergency that relaxes some health care regulations to help hospitals with coronavirus patients is being extended until the end of the month. The order was scheduled to expire Tuesday. Governor Kay Ivey decided to extend the measure was aimed at helping hospitals adjust to the caseload from the virus. She first ordered the "limited, narrowly-focused" state of emergency in mid-August because of a surge from the delta variant of the coronavirus and Alabama's low vaccination rate. The governor's office says the new proclamation relaxes regulation to allow expanded capacity in health care facilities and easier shipment of emergency equipment and supplies. It also allows out-of-state doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to practice in Alabama under expedited licenses or temporary permits. The number of patients in Alabama hospitals with COVID-19 fell under 1,000 on Friday. That’s the first time the State could make that claim since July. The number of new daily cases in Alabama has dropped more than 70% since early September. Still, the governor's proclamation says the pandemic "continues to present a serious threat to public health, taxing Alabama hospitals, many of which were already struggling to staff their facilities."