13 counties added to mask mandate, Dr. Dobbs discusses hospital stress

Governor Tate Reeves has added the following 13 counties to the “Safe Recovery” order which places hotspot areas under a mask mandate and stricter social distancing guidelines: 

Adams, Amite, Coahoma, Franklin, Jefferson, Kemper, Monroe, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Quitman, Scott, Sunflower, and Washington

This brings the total number of counties included in the order up to 54: 

Alcorn, Attala, Benton, Bolivar, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Itawamba, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leflore, Lee, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Rankin, Stone, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Winston, Yalobusha

In these counties, indoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people or less, and outdoor social gatherings are limited to 50. Masks are required while indoors and when social distancing is not possible.

Governor Reeves continues to oppose a statewide mask mandate. During a press briefing, the governor explained that he believes the current county-by-county approach is the best way to maximize participation in the hardest-hit areas. 

The governor was joined by State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who earlier in the day held a press conference to detail the current situation in Mississippi hospitals. With over 1,000 Mississippians hospitalized due to COVID-19, the state has passed its summer peak. Both the governor and Dr. Dobbs reiterated that social gatherings are primarily driving transmission of the virus. 

Dr. Dobbs stated that 12 major Mississippi hospitals have zero ICU beds available. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the state’s leading medical expert warned that we may see the situation get worse before it gets better. 

As multiple vaccines near final approval, Dr. Dobbs did mention that both the Pfizer and Moderna studies have shown minimal side effects such as pain at the site on injection but no long-term side effects. 

Dr. Dobbs also dispelled the fears over the term “nanotech” as it relates to the vaccine. 

“All the ‘nano’ means is small,” Dr. Dobbs explained. “There are no robots, there is no technology. There’s nothing remotely concerning, it just means small, little balls of fat that they use to contain the vaccine elements to make you immune.”

As over 60 schools shifted to online learning before the break, both Dr. Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers warned that asymptomatic children are increasingly spreading the virus to adults. 

With seven straight days of over 1,000 new cases in Mississippi, Dr. Dobbs stated that everyone should continue to wear a mask, avoid social gatherings and plan for smaller Christmas celebrations.