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Meridian Mayor Percy Bland said on Thursday that the city’s mask mandate will likely remain in effect for the foreseeable future. The mandate was set to expire at the end of the month. 

“We have seen an increase in cases over the last several days in the city,” Bland said during a Facebook update. “We have seen several deaths in the last several days in the city as it relates to COVID.” 

Bland also encouraged Meridian residents to get their flu shot.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported on Thursday 20 new COVID-19 cases in Lauderdale County and no additional deaths, leading to a total of 2,418 cases and 134 deaths since March. 

The department reported 958 new cases of COVID-19 statewide and eight additional deaths. 113,081 cases and 3,231 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Mississippi since the state began tracking the virus in March.

In Newton County, three new cases were reported, increasing the county’s total to 852. No new deaths were reported; the county has had 27 COVID-19 related deaths since March.

In Kemper County, no new cases were reported; 320 cases have been reported since March. No new deaths were reported; 15 deaths have been reported since March.

Clarke County reported seven new cases, leading to a total of 734 cases. No new deaths were reported; 50 deaths have been reported since March.

In Neshoba County, 11 new cases were reported, bringing the case total to 1,831. No new deaths were reported; 111 deaths have been reported since March.

The Department of Health presumes 97,675 people have recovered from COVID-19. The department also reported that there are 126 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities. 

Gov. Tate Reeves announced additional COVID-19 measures on Monday. People in nine counties, including Neshoba, have to wear a mask when they are indoors and interacting with the public, but cannot social distance.

Indoor social gatherings in those counties must be limited to 10 people and outdoor social gatherings must be limited to 50. 

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