Mississippi again taking county-level approach in attempt to slow COVID-19 spread

Mississippi taking county-level approach

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Governor Tate Reeves announced a new set of restrictions Monday with the goal of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Statewide, hospitals will now be required to reserve at least 10 percent capacity for COVID-19 patients. They’re filling up again and this time it’s not just because of COVID patients. If they are unable to maintain that percentage, they won’t be allowed to do elective procedures.

The other piece is a mask mandate and social gathering limits. But that will only apply in nine counties where there is the most rapid spread.

They will go back under a mask mandate on Wednesday, October 21 that will last till November 11. They’ll also have to limit social gatherings indoors to 10 people outdoors to 50. The counties with additional COVID-19 safety measures are Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, and Neshoba.

“In Mississippi, we’ve seen this movie before," said Reeves. "We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control. So, we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening.”

It’s the same approach used earlier this year, add restrictions only on those counties with the most rapid spread. A look at the previous numbers shows that once 23 of the counties were under such mandates, the numbers did start to take a downward dip. But they took the most dramatic and prolonged drop after the statewide mandate was in place

“Simply having local governments or state government or the federal government or any other big government tell people what to do, understand that just writing something on a sheet of paper does not guarantee that it’s going to slow the spread of the virus," added Reeves.

Some folks we spoke with say they don’t trust the personal responsibility model.

“I was very disappointed when it expired because everything was still going up," said Linda Gibbs. "You know, I don’t see no changes.”

“It’s very disheartening," said Lashonda Kidd. "I’m trying to see where people are really missing the mark at.”

While others told us "it should be a person’s choice if they want to wear a mask.”

But the case numbers have been going up.

“If we have universally available testing and if we have universally available contact tracing and we’re still growing, we need that third piece right now right now, especially until we get a vaccine," explained State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "We need that non-pharmaceutical intervention piece which is going to be the distance thing, the masking in the small groups.”

To view the Governor’s latest executive order, click HERE.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.