Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves addressed the concerns of Mississippians about the state’s response to COVID-19 in a live Facebook event Monday.
One of the most pressing concerns addressed was the possibility of a statewide shutdown.
In neighboring Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sunday announced a statewide “stay at home” order beginning Monday until April 12, requiring Louisiana residents to shelter in place unless going out for essential tasks, in hopes to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Louisiana has reported nearly 1,200 COVID-19 cases and 34 deaths.
Reeves ensured Mississippians that he is not contemplating the same action.
“No one at the Department of Health has recommended, at this time, a statewide shutdown,” Reeves said.
During a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence and the National Coronavirus task force, Reeves said he had the opportunity to ask their recommendation of a statewide shutdown and they advised the same actions the State Department of Health issued: stay in your home as much as possible, enforce social distancing, ensure no group meetings over 10 people, shut down public schools for four weeks, and urge and enforce good hand hygiene.
Reeves feels Mississippi has embraced the recommendations well. He said it is important to comply because even when you feel healthy you still have a chance to pass along the virus to others.
The governor said many people are asking why Mississippi hasn’t been shut down but said other people do not believe they could provide for their families during a shutdown. He made reference to a question he received from a single mom of four urging him not to issue a statewide shutdown because she will be unable to work and put food on the table for her four children.
“Please understand we are doing everything in our power to listen to the experts,” Reeves said. “We aren’t going to make rash decisions simply because some other states decided to do things.”
Reeves’ decision comes in the wake of 16 states issuing shelter in place orders. Among them is New York State, currently the epicenter of infections in the country with an infection rate of eight in 10,000 and some 23,000 reported cases. The next highest infection rate is in Washington State, with an infection rate of 2 in 10,000. Washington State is also under a shelter in place order.
So far, Mississippi has a total of 249 confirmed COVID-19 cases with one death, but Reeves said this number will rise as more testing becomes available around our state.
“The fact that we are seeing an increase in cases over the last 10 days is not surprising,” he said. “As we bring more and more testing centers online, you’re going to see more and more positive cases, so we fully anticipate the number of positive cases in our state will continue to grow.”
The governor ensured listeners that Mississippi will get through this pandemic.
“We will continue to make decisions to protect that single mom with four kids,” he said. “We will continue to protect every Mississippian by making wise decisions. … When we get through this, we will be in better shape to make Mississippi a better place to raise a family and an even better place to live.”See a typo? Report it here.