The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 439 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, a record number of cases reported in a single day for the second consecutive day.
On the heels of Friday’s 418 cases reported, Mississippi now has a total of 15,229 cases reported since the state began tracking COVID-19 on March 11.
Lauderdale County had five of those new cases for a total of 735, still the second highest county total in the state behind only Hinds’ 999.
The health department reported 13 new deaths, two of them in Lauderdale County. So far 723 people have died from COVID-19 in Mississippi, 61 of them in Lauderdale County, the most of any county in Mississippi. One of the new state deaths occurred on May 11 and was identified from death certificate reports.
Twenty of the new cases reported on Saturday were from long-term care facilities.
There are now 137 active outbreaks at those facilities.
Neshoba County, another hot spot, reported 24 new cases on Saturday for a total of 630. Thirty-eight people have died of COVID-19 in Neshoba County.
The back-to-back days of record increases occur just before Mississippi transitions to Gov. Tate Reeves’ Safe Return Order, which allows all businesses to open with certain restrictions.
Reeves extended an executive order Friday that applies to Lauderdale, Neshoba, Jasper, Holmes and Wayne counties.
According to the order, employees of all businesses should be screened daily and must wear a mask if they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
In retail businesses, all customers must wear a mask, as well as employees who come in direct contact with customers, the order states.