JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Gov. Tate Reeves announced Thursday eight additional counties have been added to the list of COVID-19 hotspots with tighter social distancing measures and a mask mandate.
Jones, Carroll, Coahoma, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee and Pontotoc counties were added to the county-specific executive orders.
Other Pine Belt Counties already under the mask mandate are Covington, Forrest, Lamar and Wayne counties.
A total of 37 counties have now reached the hotspot threshold set by state health experts. The orders for these counties were set to expire Monday but have been extended until Aug. 17.
Under the orders, people in these counties must wear face coverings when inside a business. They must also wear face coverings at public events, indoor or outdoor, when they are unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet from people not belonging to their household.
Reeves is also extending statewide social distancing measures under the Safe Return order until Aug. 17.
“We are throwing everything that we can at the hospital crisis in our state, and we are going to continue working to ensure the integrity of our health care system,” Reeves said at Thursday’s press briefing. “I want to underscore again: even if you do not personally fear coronavirus, the overwhelming of the system affects everybody. If you get in a car wreck, you don’t want to be treated in a tent like we saw in other parts of the country. You want to get the best possible care.”
The announcement from Reeves comes after the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,775 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, a single-day record for the state.