October 19, 2020

Mississippi governor: COVID-19, ‘not a hoax’ but says virus ‘an imminent threat to all of us’

As the total number of Mississippi residents being treated for COVID-19 continued to climb this week, Gov. Tate Reeves begged the public to follow basic social distancing guidelines.

“Please just try,” he said in a news conference Wednesday. “This is not a hoax … It is an imminent threat to all of us.”

As of the latest update from health officials, 579 people in the state were hospitalized with confirmed infection and 207 were hospitalized with suspected infection.

Reeves said the state is on pause to fully reopen, but he did not announce any new restrictions.

“Our challenge is that our people aren’t following even the simplest of rules,” he said. “Additional orders are useless if people will not follow what we have in place now.”

The 18-29 age group has the highest total number of confirmed infections, at 5,628, followed by the 40-49 age group, with 4,438 cases, according to the health department.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned many hospitals have limited bed capacity and that it is not uncommon for a COVID-19 patient to need a hospital stay as long as eight to 12 weeks.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported three new cases of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County Wednesday, for a total of 882 and 78 total deaths.

The city of Meridian has extended its curfew through July 7. Effective Wednesday, the curfew is in effect from midnight to 6 a.m. for those 18 and older and from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for those 17 and under.

Chief Cyrus Ben of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians signed an executive order Wednesday requiring masks for everyone age 2 and older interacting in public places on tribal lands.

As of midnight Tuesday, 436 people from the Pearl River community had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Choctaw Health Center, MBCI records show.

Neshoba County had 960 cases of COVID-19 in the latest health department update.

The county has the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases in the state.

MSDH reported 653 new cases in Mississippi, for a total of 27,900 cases and nine additional deaths, for a total of 1,082 deaths statewide. Four of the deaths occurred between June 18 and June 25 and were identified from death certificate reports, the health department said.

As of Sunday, 19,388 people were presumed recovered from COVID-19, records show.