Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a new state of emergency to address surging COVID-19 numbers across the state.
The emergency proclamation, which Ivey issued on Friday, gives healthcare facilities more flexibility in their efforts to handle the increase in hospitalizations by removing certain bureaucratic checks typically in place.
The proclamation allows the Board of Nursing, the Board of Pharmacy, the Medical Licensure Commission and the State Board of Medical Examiners to provide expedited licensures and temporary permits to healthcare practitioners with active and unencumbered licenses in other states.
The proclamation also authorizes the State Health Planning and Development Agency to provide temporary waivers for the “Certificate of Need” process to permit new services, facilities and resources at hospitals that need them to care for COVID-19 patients.
State agencies and local authorities are also free to enter into contracts to purchase goods or services necessary to respond to the pandemic without public advertisement, which is typically needed to fulfill a competitive bid requirement.
Ivey also issued a statement in which she said 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,” Ivey said.
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As of Aug. 13, there are 2,430 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 across Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. At East Alabama Medical Center and EAMC-Lanier, there are currently 54 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
A total of 1,635,311 Alabamians have been fully vaccinated, 32.5% of the state’s population, according to ADPH and U.S. Census data.
“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,” Ivey said. “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.”
Ivey closed the statement emphasizing that Alabama will remain open and urging residents to get vaccinated.
“Let me be crystal clear: Alabama remains open for business,” Ivey said. “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.”
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