Residents asked to wear masks, social distance

With Dothan home to two hospitals, people from around the tri-state region come into the city for medical care, such as cardiac and stroke care, Saliba said.

“We want to continue to take care of them because they are your family, they are your friends, they are those that you know every day,” Saliba said. “When you throw on top of (that) a pandemic like COVID-19 … it is a challenge. It is continuing to, increasingly, stress and strain staffing and capacity.”

While officials said capacity is adequate now, the worry over hospital capacity led local leaders to identify spaces for alternative patient care sites – Surgery Center South; Eye Center South, and the Westgate Recreation Center gymnasium – should the need arise.

Opening such alternative medical sites is an option officials said they hope won’t be needed.

Saliba and Culver said they understand people are feeling COVID fatigue and want their normal lives back. But, Culver said, the virus has become a polarizing issue, and he said he has seen tense interactions between people who disagree about measures taken to slow the spread of the virus or question information released about the coronavirus.

“We do want people to continue to wear a mask. We do want you to social distance. We want you to continue to sanitize,” Culver said. “We would like to encourage businesses out there to adopt a policy of not allowing people into your business unless they have masks. A lot of the larger places have, and we think that’s a good practice.”

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