Nine counties placed under additional COVID-19 restrictions

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves has announced additional measures to both ease the potential stress placed on the state’s healthcare system and to reduce the risk of transmission in several hotspot counties. 

A new executive order places a 10% capacity requirement on healthcare facilities across the state. This means that if hospitals cannot maintain 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients, they must delay elective procedures. Similar action was taken in the midst of the summer surge.

Also, nine counties have been placed under additional guidelines limiting social gatherings and mandating the use of masks. 

Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, and Neshoba. 

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

This mirrors the approach taken by the governor prior to the implementation of the statewide mask mandate in August. When the statewide mandate—the first in the U.S. that was allowed to expire—was placed into effect in August, the localized approach had expanded into 37 counties. 

“We’ve seen this before. We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control, and so we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening,” Governor Reeves said. “None of these elements are silver bullets. None of them will totally eliminate the virus. We have to allow for life to go on in the meantime. As we wait for a vaccine, our mission is the same as it ever was: to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. That has to be the focus.”

The criteria for the selected nine counties is as follows — more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents over a designated two-week period or more than 200 cases total over the designated two-week period (with more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents).

Watch the governor’s press briefing on the matter below: