Mississippi funeral led to ‘many, many’ people exposed to coronavirus, top health chief says

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A recent funeral in Mississippi exposed “many, many” people to the COVID-19 coronavirus, Mississippi’s top health expert said Tuesday.

“We did, last week, have an event at a funeral where a contagious patient did go to a funeral and exposed many, many people,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer. “We don’t release details of cases, where they are, but this may not be the only funeral we’re investigating.”

Dobbs said he would “think about” whether to release the exact counties in which the funerals with the coronavirus exposures occurred, but that Mississippians need to realize the danger of catching the virus remain.

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“Please, this is not over,” he said. “The funerals and churches and mass gatherings are places where we saw outbreaks early on in this pandemic in Mississippi.

“We don’t want to repeat that,” he said. “Please be careful with your social distancing. Even when I know these are painful situations when you want to hug and kiss and share. Especially if you’re symptomatic, do not go. Do not go to church, Do not go to a funeral, Do not go to a wedding.

“We don’t want a funeral lead to more funerals, which we have actually seen that,” Dobbs said.

“Stay home if you’re ill and honor the social distancing principles that we know are very important and effective in protecting us.”

Gov. Tate Reeves echoed Dobbs’ warning Tuesday.

“We do continue to see a steady number of cases in our state. That number is not declining significantly,” Reeves said. “And it certainly should serve as a warning to all of us that this disease is not disappearing. We have to stay vigilant.”

“At the same time, our active hospitalizations, our ICU patients, our number of ventilators, and our total number of deaths, every single one of them being a tragedy, have continued to stay relatively flat,” Reeves said.

The governor pointed to the fact that 9,401 coronavirus patients have recovered, meaning the state still has approximately 3,678 active cases, he said.

“We have to keep fighting,” Reeves said. “We have to work to stay safe and we have to work to keep our friends and neighbors safe and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in the great state of Mississippi.”

“We are all in this together,” he said. “We all have to work together to make a difference.”

Reeves said Mississippians can make a difference by simply working together and following guidelines.

“As we look to the fall, my plea to the people of Mississippi is: if we all do the little things, then it can make a huge difference for everybody.”