Earlier today, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 476 new cases of COVID-19, which according to Governor Tate Reeves, exemplifies a positive trend.
The governor stated that Mississippi’s 7-day rolling average has dropped to 932, around a 30% drop from a July 30th peak of 1,361. He attributed the drop to the willingness of Mississippians to take the proper precautions such as wearing a mask and urged everyone to keep up the good work to ensure the average doesn’t move back up.
“We can feel confident in our approach, but we must continue our efforts. The masks are working, your increased focus on slowing the spread is working. It gives us hope and it gives us a roadmap. We know that we do not have to shut down our society, we need to continue to keep doing what we’ve been doing. If we can hit the gas for the next several weeks, we can really drive these numbers down,” he said.
The statewide mask mandate remains in effect until at least August 17th.
Mississippi’s ‘R-naught’ is currently below 1, which according to healthline.com, means that “each existing infection causes less than one new infection.”
If this trend continues, Governor Reeves stated that we will begin to see positive effects in some of the lagging indicators such as hospitalizations, ICU bed usage and deaths.
As schools begin to reopen across the state, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs did state that 22 schools are reporting cases of COVID-19 with 19 students & 15 employees testing positive.
On the economic front, the governor stated that Mississippi’s unemployment rate is down to 8.2% — placing it 7th in the nation in terms of jobs lost in February – April that have returned in June.
Over at the capitol today, lawmakers returned with the intention of overriding the governor’s veto of the education budget bill, the same veto that led to Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Speaker Pro Tem Jason White suing the governor. The House voted 109-7 to do just that and it has been sent to the Senate.
Reeves’ veto stemmed from the omission of around $25 million for a teacher incentive program, which could be added back into the budget by lawmakers. When asked about the veto, the governor said that he continues to believe this program must be added back.
“If individual members of the House want to punch me in the face, if they want to stab me in the back, that’s fine as long as those teachers get the money,” he said.
The program rewards teachers in A & B-rated districts and those that work in schools that improve by a letter grade from one year to the next.
Additionally, Reeves supported the effort by lawmakers as they work to pass a budget for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, which they failed to do before departing the capitol back in early July.
Watch today’s full briefing below: