Local officials urge citizens to wear masks in public amid surge in cases

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Local officials and hospital representatives met to discuss the surge of positive coronavirus cases in the Wiregrass Thursday evening.

At the conference, Southeast Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Harkness discussed how there was a decline in cases at the end of April. Now, with certain restrictions loosened, both hospitals have been seeing a recent uptick in cases.

“It appears we are heading for a new peak,” Harkness said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, cases were coming from Georgia but now the bulk of the cases are from Alabama residents.

Both Dothan and Houston County government officials urge citizens to practice social distancing, wash hands thoroughly, and wear masks in public to slow the virus from spreading.

“Ever since whatever the date was when the governor basically opened everything back up, I think we have seen some complacency out there. We’ve got to avoid that complacency,” Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said.

“When you’re in public, this is just common sense, and you’re in the store and just cant social distance..wear a mask. This is extremely important to us,” Mayor Mark Saliba said.

WDHN caught up with two residents on their opinions about local government officials’ remarks.

“When I wear a mask, I keep you from getting it. When you wear a mask, you keep me from getting it. So if we all wear a mask in public then maybe we could have really kept those numbers down,” Susan Marsh said.

“I only hang out with the people I hang out with, I don’t rally go out a ton, I practice social distancing fairly regularly so I mean unless its required of me to wear into a place I’m probably not gonna put it on,” Blake Davis said.

Mayor Saliba says he wants everyone to take this seriously to prevent a setback which is not in the plans.

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