According to ADPH, 2,837 citizens of Jackson County have been infected with COVID-19 since March — 24 have died. In Alabama there are 228,373 cases in the state and 3,451 have died.

In the United States more than 250,000 people have died from the virus as both national and state cases have continued to increase.

“I will not shut down businesses,” wrote Ivey on Twitter in response to the Business Council of Alabama.

In a statement responding to the BCA’s “Keep Alabama Open” campaign, the governor said that she would do everything she can to ensure employee and customer safety while also trying to save “lives and livelihoods.”

The governor’s latest Safer-at-Home order loosened restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, while retaining the states mask mandate.

During the press conference regarding the amended Safer at Home order early in November, Ivey stated that she hoped the order would eventually be able to be a recommendation as opposed to a mandate.

State and national health officials warn that if families choose to travel and have large gatherings over thanksgiving week that these case numbers, and deaths, are likely to skyrocket in the coming days. The CDC has predicted that there is a possibility that an additional 16,000 could die in the U.S. before Dec. 12.

“Gathering ‘as usual’ for Thanksgiving traditions could be especially dangerous this year as the type of event has the potential to transmit COVID,” stated Ellen Eaton, assistant professor in the University of Alabama Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases.

Two vaccine candidates have been announced to have above 90% effectiveness in their testing. Something vital for quick distribution. More than one vaccine will provide state and federal health departments more vaccine to distribute. A plan was submitted by the State Health

According to the Dr. Scott Harris, the head of the ADPH, the state is expecting an initial wave of vaccines to be available to select Alabamians beginning in mid-December.

“As soon as mid-December, healthcare providers and the chronically ill in Alabama could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine,” said ADPH in a statement released on Monday.

According to the release Harris has recently met with the head of Operation Warp Speed, the program initiated by the federal government to assist in a quick vaccine distribution, Gen. Gustave Perna to facilitate a rapid distribution of the vaccine.

ADPH has stated that the FDA is expected to take roughly two weeks to approve each vaccine — the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine was submitted early on Nov. 19 to the FDA.

As a part of Operation Warp Speed a number of vaccine candidates were preproduced and stored across the country to allow for a quick distribution to various locations.

Harris assured citizens that the initial dose of the vaccine will be available at no cost to Alabamians.

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