Mississippi health officer: Reckless behavior will harm whole state


Gov. Tate Reeves extended his Safe Return order Friday for an additional week, following record daily increases in COVID-19 cases in recent days.

Social distancing guidelines and restrictions under the order are extended until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6.

"The threat is far from over," Reeves said in a statement. "Extending our Safe Return order will give us much-needed time to assess this rapidly-changing situation and adapt our response to slow the spread ... I urge my fellow Mississippians to do their part to help limit transmission in their communities and take care of each other."

As the Mississippi State Dept. of Health continues to report an increase in new cases of COVID-19, officials said they were not surprised and that the situation in Mississippi was "evolving and worsening."

“People are getting together in reckless manners,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs on Thursday, as the state reported a record 1,092 new cases. “There’s a disconnect from reality and what people want and there’s going to be a reckoning.”

“The reality is that these 1,000 cases are not tied to any one particular event," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. "They’re not tied to one particular county. We are seeing community transmission throughout Mississippi.”

The agency said cases are rising fastest among young adults who are failing to take proper safeguards.

“If we’re not careful, Mississippi’s going to look like New York at the height of the pandemic,” Dobbs said.

He said people should not attribute the increased cases to testing.

The health department reported three new cases of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County Friday, for a total of 867 and 78 total deaths.

The agency reported 550 new cases in Mississippi, for a total of 25,066 and six additional deaths, for a total of 1,022 deaths statewide.

As of the latest update, 533 Mississippians were being hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 infection and 236 were being hospitalized with suspected infection, MSDH said.

The health department reported 193 cases and 22 deaths in Clarke County, 171 cases and 13 deaths in Kemper County, 928 cases and 63 deaths in Neshoba County and 326 cases and eight deaths in Newton County.

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