Governor Reeves: healthcare system “at risk” as COVID-19 cases rise

This afternoon, Governor Tate Reeves held a press briefing as COVID-19 cases in Mississippi and across the country continue to rise.

The Department of Health has reported at least 650 new cases of COVID-19 each day this week, and 570 Mississippians are currently hospitalized. During today’s briefing, the governor expressed concern for the state’s healthcare system as the virus continues to spread throughout the state. 

“Our goal has been and continues to be that every single Mississippian that can get better with quality care receives that quality care…let’s be honest, that mission is threatened by the rising numbers. I want to be very, very clear. Our healthcare system is at risk. This is not a risk that is a long-term threat, this is a risk that is before us, if not now, very, very soon,” he said.

The governor stated that the reopening of the state is “paused” as the numbers worsen. Recently, Mississippi’s ‘safe return’ order was extended until July 6th, keeping guidelines and restrictions on businesses and social gatherings in place. This order has been in place since June 1 and Governor Reeves emphasized that cooperation is lacking. 

“It’s not that our current rules are too loose, our challenge is that our people aren’t following even the simplest of rules. Additional orders are useless if people will not follow what we have in place now,” Reeves said. “We need more cooperation, not more mandates. We need people to re-engage in the mission.”

The Governor reiterated the importance of wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and refraining from having large gatherings. 

“I’m begging everyone of my fellow Mississippians to please play your part. It will take all of us to make a difference,” he pleaded.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs echoed the governor’s concern for the state’s healthcare system while also noting that the number of cases in Mississippi’s younger population continues to rise as the quickest rate. 

“It’s across the board, but it’s just that much more extreme within our young folks. What we’ve seen time and time again is that it’s social activity, it’s people getting in the community and being out and about in their hometowns picking it up from things that normally would be perfectly innocent and safe, but in the setting of a pandemic, these are things that cannot be done safely,” Dr. Dobbs said.

Mississippi was recently added to a travel advisory that mandates anyone visiting the tri-state (NY, NJ, CT) area must quarantine for 14-days. Dr. Dobbs wasn’t surprised by the news.

“We are all connected in this, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important that we collectively respond,” he said. “If you’re a young person, and you’re not worried about dying, but you’re going out, you’re keeping somebody from visiting their grandmother in the nursing home because we can’t open it up for visitation. You’re keeping someone from going to New York to see a family member because now they have to quarantine. Everything has consequences.” 

Dr. Dobbs continued on to say that Mississippians have only themselves to blame.

“It’s really lamentable that now Mississippi, we had an opportunity at the end of May; we were going down, our caseload was dropping, our reproductive rate was less than one and we lost our minds and we’re paying for it now.”

Watch the full press conference below: