During a press briefing this afternoon, Governor Tate Reeves announced the expansion of his “Safe Recovery” order and discussed an update that he received from Washington in regards to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The governor has now updated the order, which places a mask mandate and stricter social distancing guidelines on hotspot areas, to include 19 additional counties:
Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Prentiss, Stone, Tippah, Tishomingo, and Union.
This brings the total number of counties included in the order up to 41 — half of the counties in Mississippi:
Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Lee, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Pontotoc, Rankin, Tate, Winston, Yalobusha.
Governor Reeves continued to oppose the issuance of a statewide mask mandate as calls for such an order from the state’s top health experts grow. The governor went on to say that if numbers continue to climb, he would consider a statewide mandate.
On the vaccine front, Governor Reeves noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expressed the possibility that over 37 million doses could be issued by the end of the year as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines near final approval. While Reeves said that may be “optimistic”, this would lead to about 375,000 doses delivered to Mississippi. These would be administered to the most vulnerable in the state and healthcare workers on the frontline.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas stated that the cost of the vaccine’s distribution would come out to around $30 million. Due to the need for specialized freezers, Pfizer will distribute its own vaccine while the Moderna vaccine will be districted through a partnership between the CDC and McKesson — a medical supplies company with two locations around Olive Branch.
Dr. Dobbs and the governor also urged everyone to limit the size of their Thanksgiving celebrations this year and to take the proper precautions such as wearing masks and staying outdoors as much as possible.
Watch today’s briefing below: