(WVUA 23) – Surging COVID cases throughout the state have prompted several officials to delay re-opening phases. Tuscaloosa is the third-highest number of active COVID cases this month. Only Jefferson and Mobile counties have more cases. U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox held a joint video conference last week.
Jones and Maddox applauded Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask mandate, which was extended through October Friday. Jones said he urges college students at Auburn University and the University of Alabama to follow the rules.
Despite the rise in cases, Maddox said he remains positive regarding the upcoming football season. Maddox said he is concerned about how rural health care might affect Tuscaloosa.
“I do worry about what we can see and in Tuscaloosa’s case, we have 11 rural counties that come into the DCH Health System here in Tuscaloosa,” Maddox said. “So, it’s not just what we do here in Tuscaloosa, it’s what happens in Marengo County and Sumter County and Perry County and other places.”
Additionally, Mayor Maddox was clear that as a state, Alabama is not out of the woods just yet.
“I do think we have to be very careful in Alabama and that’s why I think Ivey was right to extend the order,” Maddox said. “We’re doing well but that’s like being up by 10 points in the third quarter, it’s good but you haven’t finished and I think that’s where we are in our state.”
On Monday, Maddox issued an executive order requiring all bars in Tuscaloosa to close through Sept. 7. Food service at restaurants will still operate at limited capacity.
(Seamus DeLuc, WVUA 23)