Gov: Virus getting worse
Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Wednesday plans for future executive orders that will add new restrictions to combat COVID-19, including mask mandates for specific counties.
“COVID-19 continues to be a scourge on our country and on our state,” he said. “Here in Mississippi we are seeing numbers as high as we have seen at any point since the very beginning.”
Reeves did not go into detail about which counties would have increased guidelines but said orders were currently being finalized.
He said there were no plans for a statewide mask mandate at this time, instead saying buy-in at the local level has proven successful in the past.
On Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs painted a grim picture for Mississippi in response to increasing positive cases in COVID-19 that he attributes to lack of social distancing by residents.
On Tuesday, 957 new cases and 44 new deaths were reported in the state. On Wednesday, there were 674 new cases and 30 new deaths.
A new public health order set to go in effect today (June 9) will limit elective procedures in hospitals in six counties — Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Jones, Forrest and Washington.
Dobbs said there are patients who have transported to out-of-state hospitals because there are no available beds.
“We’re running out of ICU beds,” he said. “It’s happening now. This is not a future state, it’s a now state. My greatest fear is starting to be realized. People in ERs across the state who can’t get a bed, we’re sending them out of state.”
Dobbs said they are seeing an increase in cases in the 18-29 year-old age group.
“Some people aren’t hearing the message, some people are denying the message and some people are actively combating the message,” he said. “It’s getting worse. It gets worse every day.”
He pointed to recent large gatherings over the Fourth of July weekend that will likely result in more outbreaks, just as they experienced some after Memorial Day.
He said all Mississippians can do is “ride this wave” and wait until next spring or summer when it’s gone.
“We are gonna be in a sea of outbreaks,” he said. “Just honestly, a whole state full of outbreaks everywhere. We’re dismayed to see people not following the rules.”
When asked about the upcoming fall school term, he said they want to do everything to support safe education before pointing the finger again at people not social distancing, saying they don’t have enough patience to support critical citizens like children and seniors.
Reeves said he was 100 percent committed to opening up the schools for the fall term but less than 100 percent on extracurricular activities such as high school football.
Reeves on Wednesday reiterated Dobbs’ sentiments from the day before, saying if Mississippians took the virus more serious the state could weather the storm better.
“Please pay attention,” he said. “Please do the right thing for yourself, which will ultimately do the right thing for your neighbors.”
Madison County is third in the state with a total number of 1,355 cases, behind Hinds and De Soto.
The state’s death rate has been cut by 31% since May, data show, but hospitalizations, ICU cases and ventilator usage has risen.
As of Wednesday, Madison reported reported 46 deaths. There were also 135 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 18 of those resulting in death.
The Mississippi Department of Health reported on Wednesday 648 current hospitalizations of COVID patients, up from 466 on June 16. There were another 237 patients with suspected infection. There were 173 people admitted in ICUs across the state and 95 who were on ventilators.