As a surge in COVID-19 cases continued to strain Mississippi's health care system, Gov. Tate Reeves announced new statewide measures Friday restricting social gatherings.
Effective immediately, social gatherings and activities are limited to 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, according to Executive Order 1511.
The new restrictions would not change how businesses operate, Reeves said.
Under the order, bars can sell alcohol only to seated customers and no alcohol can be sold at restaurants or bars after 11 p.m.
Mississippi is ranked ninth in the country in per capita COVID-19 cases in the last seven days, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a news conference Friday.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,610 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the second highest daily increase since the state began tracking the coronavirus in March.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state is 49,663. The highest single daily total is 1,635 cases reported on Tuesday.
The state reported 28 additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday for a total of 1,463. One of the victims was from Lauderdale County.
Lauderdale County had four new cases on Friday for a total of 1,159. The county has reported 84 total deaths.
In the latest update showing cumulative totals for ongoing outbreaks at long-term care facilities, Diversicare of Meridian reported one case of COVID-19 among staff, James T. Champion Nursing Facility reported two cases among staff and North Pointe Health and Rehabilitation Services reported one case among staff.
In Neshoba County, Hilltop Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center reported ten deaths among residents, 43 cases among residents and 10 cases among staff.
The department of health reported eight new cases in Neshoba County for a total of 1,138; four in Newton County for 458; two in Clarke County for 265; and one in Kemper for 206.
The new cases reflect COVID-19 cases confirmed by testing labs by 6 p.m. Thursday.
Hospitalizations across the straight continue to rise, with 975 reported Thursday, an increase of 25.
Dobbs said Friday that 39 percent of ICU patients have COVID-19 and nine hospitals in the state had no ICU beds available.
New cases reported Friday include 28 among residents in long-term care facilities and nine deaths of residents. Active outbreaks at long-term-care facilities rose 183, according to the health department.
The health department urges individuals to stay home when possible, wear a face covering in public and wash hands frequently.
A citywide mask order will go into effect in Meridian at noon on Saturday, July 26 until further notice.
Under the order, employees and customers must wear masks inside businesses as well as everyone over age 2 in public places, Bland said.
Some exceptions include outdoor exercise, pumping gas, driving alone or with passengers of the same household, in cases of greater health or safety risk, while eating or drinking in restaurants or bars or while working in non-public work spaces where six feet of distance can be maintained.
Businesses or individuals in violation will first receive a warning, according to the order.
A second citation will result in a $250 fine for a business and a $100 fine for an individual, the order said.