Health care officials in Alabama are showing support for the governor's stay-at-home order and for numerous healthcare workers who are on the front lines in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order which went into effect last Saturday, and yesterday, she called on Alabamians to place red ribbons of hope on their mailboxes, trees and other outdoor spaces to honor the work being done by front-line health care workers who are working behind the scenes to keep medical facilities open and necessary services ongoing. They include doctors, nurses, first responders and more.

Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, and Mark Jackson, executive director of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, said Ivey's order was critical in slowing the spread of the virus.

“Studies show that one person with the virus is expected to infect up to two more people,” they said in a joint statement. “They also have proven that you don’t have to be showing symptoms to have the virus and spread it; estimates are that 25–50% of those with the virus are symptom free. Since this is a new strain of virus, we have no built-in protections, so if left unchecked, the number of cases and of deaths will increase.

“A number of models are predicting fewer cases in Alabama than originally expected. This would not have been possible had Gov. Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris not taken bold steps to get Alabamians to stay home. These efforts could mean the difference between life and death, and we need to stay the course."

Williamson and Jackson called social distancing and staying at home "the best ammunition we have to protect ourselves," as well as the best way to give health care providers "a fighting chance at having the equipment, time and resources needed to take on this immense challenge.”

Other officials say the stay-at-home order will help slow the spread of the virus and help health care workers do their job more efficiently.

“Our healthcare providers are on the front lines and will continue to provide first contact, preventive care and ongoing acute care needed during this medical emergency,” said Dr. John S. Meigs, president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “Physicians and all healthcare professionals have stayed at work for you. Please stay home for them.”

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