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tv   Alabama Gov. Ivey Holds Coronavirus Briefing  CSPAN  April 21, 2020 7:37pm-8:01pm EDT

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virus. >> stay in touch using the newly updated c-span congressional directory. it has all the contact information you need to contact your representative or senator. order your copy online today at c-span washington journal primetime, a special evening addition of the washington journal -- edition of the washington journal on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. our guests are the former cdc director, now the president and ceo of the group resolve to save lives. he joins us to discuss government and private efforts to combat the pandemic. and a representative of john hopkins university will talk how her team built the coronavirus data dashboard and map, which visualized and tracked data on
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the spread of the virus. join the conversation tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. next, alabama governor kay ivey holding a briefing with reporters on her state's response to the coronavirus. she says testing remains a challenge in reopening alabama. this is 20 minutes. gov. ivey: i am here to give an update on our stay-at-home order. this weekend is the projected peak of the illness. we look forward to seeing when these numbers start to decline so that we can make small progress. what we are doing is working. i plead with the people of alabama, keep doing what you are doing. social distancing, personal
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hygiene, staying at home when you can. our stay-at-home order stays in effect until april 30. last week, i talked to you about the focus on my people's safety and health to include also the economic health of our state. in my mind, those two have been closely in a whirlwind since the beginning. as most people can appreciate, this requires a strategic approach as well as a team effort to strike the proper balance between keeping our people safe and healthy and also addressing our state's overall economic health. in addition to dr. harris joining us today are a few members of our team who will make alabama's recovery a success for all of our people. last week i announced an executive committee of my
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coronavirus task force would soon be putting the pieces of this puzzle together. i am pleased to say they have already been hard at work. these individuals will work closely with dr. harris and me to go through the many recommendations we are receiving in order to safely open our economy. we can do this, and we will do this. i am as eager as anybody to get our economy back open, spinning on all cylinders again. but again we have to be cautious in what we are doing and do it in a smart, productive way. our state finance director is chairing my executive committee. you will hear from him in a few moments. i expect directly -- director butler will lay out how we put the pieces together so dr. harris and i can determine how, when, and in what way businesses
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will reopen. we have alabama businesses and alabamians hurting right now. we certainly know who you are. we want to help each of you get back on your feet as soon as possible. the labor secretary is also here with me today to give you information on people seeking andployment compensation where they stand in the process. i know secretary washington and his folks are working overtime and overdrive to get this worked on. done.s work my office has been in touch with the congressional delegation because we want to see the funds replenished in the paycheck protection program. this program is critical to our people, especially to small businesses. already in alabama, financial
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institutions made close to 28,000 paycheck protection program loans, totaling around $4.9 billion with a b. that is just here in alabama. superintendent mike hill in a few minutes will give an update on what this program looks like for alabama's small businesses. as i've stated several times, getting our economy up and running is not as simple as flipping a switch. there has been no shortage of good ideas sent to us. they are coming from all corners of the state. we heard from arsenal business commission. -- from our small business commission. tomorrow we will hear from our federal house delegation in washington. we also had numerous suggestions from legislators, mayors, and
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private citizens alike. dr. harris agrees every good idea needs to be considered. he and i will be working closely with our executive committee to get alabama's economy up and running again. my fellow alabamians, during these unprecedented times, you have truly given new meaning to the words "together alabama." it has been a challenging month. we have lost too many of our loved ones. our way of life has been turned upside down. but better days are ahead. i am confident are better days are ahead. thank you so much, people of alabama, for your willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. i will now call on dr. harris to
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give us his update. dr. harris: good morning, everyone. the snapshot for where we are today shows we have a little over 5100 cases confirmed so far in our state. we have debts around 167 or so whenaths around 167 or so i last checked this morning. we reached where we thought we had a hospital surge. that has been contained. we are happy about that. as people stayed home and stayed away from others who are sick, we have seen the numbers improve. that makes us feel more confident going forward as we make decisions about what to do next. [indiscernible]
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gov. ivey: do you want to take a crack at that? >> we have not put a number on it. we have estimated our shortfall based on those last conversations with our economists might approach $1 billion. [indiscernible] gov. ivey: not at the moment.
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our priority is about getting the whole economy and the decrease in our covid-19 numbers down so we can consider going back to work. [indiscernible] gov. ivey: we've got an executive committee of the coronavirus task force. we are having a meeting with them in birmingham as we speak. that committee will be receiving all of the ideas coming in. we have a specific timetable of what, when, and how our businesses can reopen. [indiscernible] nobody wants to open up businesses more than i do. we had a 2.7% unemployment in
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february and i am eager to get back to that. [indiscernible] gov. ivey: the five governors i visited with over the phone are all eager to open up, as we are in alabama. testing is still a challenge for them as well. until we get enough testing done, we can't reopen the economy. we are all in the same boat. we are working together and sharing ideas. some states are open sooner than others, but every governor is responsible for reading the numbers and doing what they think is best for their state. [indiscernible] are you satisfied with the
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state's testing response? gov. ivey: no, we are not testing enough. we need to do a whole lot more testing to get up to speed. [indiscernible] reporter: what benchmarks for testing would you feel comfortable with? dr. harris: i don't think there is a set number we would use. we want to feel comfortable that we can test people when they need to be tested. right now in some parts of the state, that means we take consultation from a doctor one at a time. someday in the future -- and no state has solved this problem yet -- we would like testing to
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be available like any other testing. if you need to get a rabbit str glucose strep test or test, you could go to your doctor and have that done. we certainly don't have to wait a position like that where we can do it. what we do need is to be able to respond as public health when we see outbreaks occurring to get to an area where we have multiple cases reported, to get those people tested as quickly as possible. reopenr: if we were to the economy next month, are you confident -- [indiscernible] dr. harris: we are still trying to make decisions about that. we have improved testing tremendously. the ultimate goal of having the widespread testing is not going to be realistic for any state to see soon.
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we are increasing our capacity. the guidance we received peter lee from -- repeatedly from hhs is public labs are not doing much testing and any state, continue to work with providers to develop testing capacity. most of the tests in our state are being done by those other entities. we continue to amplify their capacity as much as possible. gov. ivey: the department of testing, but we had a few private labs and uab start testing. they are adding to our testing capacity. [indiscernible] dr. harris: nursing homes are one of the areas that we have a lot of concern over because they house our most vulnerable
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citizens. all nursing homes everywhere in the country have worked very hard on this problem. probably hadas nursing home associated cases. we are no different here. we have been working since the beginning with nursing homes to make sure they are aware of this and prepare for it. nursing homes are actually really good at handling infectious diseases because they do have to deal with that a lot if they have outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness or influenza. we have worked closely with them on policies and procedures. we limited visitors, which we understand is a hardship for a lot of people. we didn't do that lightly. we felt like that was the best way to keep people safe. the nursing homes themselves are screening people who come in the building.
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many of them have done testing on a some demented people just as a way to look for cases that aren't having symptoms. many of them are looking for ways to cohort those positive patients, those who test positive but are not sick enough in the hospital can be put in a dedicated wing so they are not mixing with others who are not infected. on top of that, the national guard worked closely with us and nursing homes to do decontamination, particularly in those homes that had cases. we really appreciate that support. general gordon has helped us get that arranged. it has been well received by the nursing homes. we think that will prevent a lot of infections. [indiscernible] dr. harris: that is known. i don't know how many there are
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-- i am sorry, i don't know the number currently. >> a fee more questions. -- few more questions. reopening look at next month? gov. ivey: the stay-at-home order is in place at least through april 30 at this point. before we can get fully operational, we've got to increase our testing capacity. what would be adequate testing, in your opinion? gov. ivey: my opinion doesn't count. it is the health people that know how much we have to test. all the decisions i have to make are based on data, not a desired date. [indiscernible]
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gov. ivey: we've got to lower this covid-19 rate. it's got to start declining more than it is. they needs to do that over a period of 10 to 14 days. you just have to read the numbers and don't get impatient. art've simply got to do our p one person at a time, social distancing, personal hygiene. stay-at-home if you can. at the same time, we are doing everything we can to encourage folks to file for unemployment and apply for federal insurance and assistance. the federal government is doing a good job of trying to provide those resources. [indiscernible]
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got to havee've more than less than 1% of our population, that is for sure. [indiscernible] dr. harris: i think clearly people need to take seriously the guidelines about social distancing. we understand and has been a hardship on so many people. as other facilities open up around alabama, i know there is
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a temptation to take advantage of those. i ask people to remember we are trying to protect the most vulnerable in our state, even if they feel they are not at risk, there are people in their own home or community who are at risk. we need people to remember that longer. it has been a terrible time for many people for quite a while. is breakingwn pretty soon. we have a little bit further to go. we hope people can hang in there longer and protect people in their family and community. [indiscernible] gov. ivey: that is a good benchmark to work toward, 14
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days of declining new cases. [indiscernible] i plan to. reporter: where do we stand on that now? dr. harris: it is posted on the public website. you are welcome to see it there, so i don't want to misquote you when you can look it up. we have had somewhere around five or six days -- i think all but one day have been below the 200 case per day mark we have seen for quite a while. they are still leveled off at that point. we think this might be the inflection point on the curve we are looking for. we still need to look at data for another few days to know for sure. >> thank you for your questions. that is all the time we have. gov. ivey: thank y'all so much. >> c-span has round-the-clock
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coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and it is all available on demand at watch white house briefings, updates from governors and state officials. track the spread throughout the u.s. and the world with interactive maps. watch on-demand anytime, unfiltered, at /coronavirus. you are watching a special nowion of book tv, airing while members of congress are in their districts during the pandemic. tonight we look at foreign affairs. an ambassador discusses his life and career from the book "hope and history." then "the dragons and the snakes" looks at ways hostile forces adapted to the ways the u.s. fights wars. and later the power and
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