By Faye Gaston

The Alabama Public Health Department lists Bullock County as a "very" high-risk for COVID-19 cases. Bullock and Barbour counties are the only two counties in Alabama's 67 counties listed in the "very" high-risk category.

Twenty-two counties were listed at a high risk, 47 at a moderate risk, and six at a low risk. Cases were expected to increase following family gatherings for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays.

This prediction came true with Bullock County's numbers increased by 157 for the last 14 days. Bullock County has 910 confirmed and probable cases, 22 deaths, and a total of 4,593 tested. As of January 4, 374,095 cases were reported for Alabama as the cases spiked. Health officials say they are concerned that cases will continue to grow in January.

Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer, said, "I believe, fortunately, we are going to see even worse numbers than we have, and the ones we have now are pretty bad."

Alabama has been allocated 128,175 vaccine doses, and 20,354 have been administered. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued her 20th supplemental emergency proclamation on December 9, extending the "Safer at Home Order" until Friday, January 22, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.

The order encouraged all to wear face masks when in public, and many businesses require them to enter. Face masks still should be worn after taking the vaccine.

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