Both Madison County and the State of Alabama reported record high daily increases of confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday.
During a Huntsville City Council meeting, Jeff Birdwell, director of Madison County emergency management, noted that nearly half of the county’s total cases were registered in the last 14 days.
“As far as I know, we don’t have a nursing home that’s been infected, we don’t have a large workforce that has been infected, at least that we know,” Birdwell said. “So, you kind of put two and two together and we’ve just got general community spread going on.”
During the meeting, Birdwell and several city council members expressed the importance of wearing a mask in an effort to reduce the spread.
“It’s not something that’s being imposed, it is not something that’s silly, it’s something that we just have to get used to,” Frances Akridge, District 2, said.
“I do believe people should have a choice, so that is my reluctancy to make it mandatory,” Will Culver, District 5, explained.
Outside the meeting, where dozens gathered to watch a live stream, some said they felt completely comfortable in a group setting due to the precautions many had taken.
“I want to do everything I can while being here to keep myself and others as safe as possible, which includes, of course, wearing a mask,” Shawn Estes, a protester, said.
While it doesn’t appear that there’s any real movement towards a mandatory mask order, officials will continue to push for mask use in public as cases numbers climb.
Birdwell said the most important thing to have right now is community cooperation, again emphasizing the importance of distance, sanitizing and face coverings.