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Governor extends mask order amid virus surge

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday extended a mask order until Jan. 22 as the state experiences a record-setting surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Ivey and State Health Officer Scott Harris announced the extension during a news conference at the Alabama Capitol. The order, which requires face coverings to be worn in public when interacting within 6 feet (2 meters) with people outside your household, had been scheduled to expire Friday.
The Republican governor cited the rising case numbers as she announced the extension.
Ivey said she has not seriously considered another lockdown.
Alabama this week hit a record for the number of people in state hospitals with COVID-19 with more than 2,000 people hospitalized. The state also saw a record number in daily cases with more than 3,000 new infections being reported daily.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Alabama has risen over the past two weeks from 2,288 new cases a day on Nov. 24 to 3,395 new cases a day on Tuesday.
Since the pandemic began, the state health department has reported more than 280,000 confirmed and probable virus cases and nearly 4,000 confirmed and probable virus deaths in Alabama.
While the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms in most people, it can be deadly for the elderly and people with other, serious health problems.