by Hunter Dawkins

In a daily press conference the last week, solemn speaking Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves appears to start off on a positive note every time, yet then discusses the daily struggles of every Mississippian throughout this COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemice.  Just as a few details began to lean in the straight direction, Thursday’s record-breaking portion of 2,260 confirmed cases with 76 deaths from the virus looks towards more answers.

As Easter weekend is to set forth, Governor Reeves is still receiving daily questions about enforcement of the ‘shelter-in-place’ executive order and a few of those involve churches.  At Wednesday’s press conference, Reeves said the same feelings that he had been all along.

“This is not the time to hold services and fill our churches,” said Reeves.  The Governor invited Natchez pastor Bishop Stanley Searcy, one who has had in-service despite the executive order.

“Some of my local officials called me and said if you have services, we’re gonna lock you up,” noted Searcy. “But that’s when I kind of planted my feet. I felt like my Constitutional rights were being violated.”

Reeves asked Searcy publicly to follow this executive order for the Easter weekend, which Searcy obliged.  “We believe that churches are essential operations in our state,” said Reeves. “But we also believe that we need to make wise choices and wise decisions.

Following this brief dialogue at the same conference, Reeves explained how schools need an answer and one that he will overlook the statistics over the weekend and will review with the Mississippi Department of Education.  From here, Reeves stated that a decision will be made about all schools and their action on Tuesday.

Finally, at Thursday’s press conference; although, brief, the governor focused almost all of his attention on unemployment.  The numbers were astonishing because unemployment in the state of Mississippi increased 8,000 percent in just a few weeks.  Now there are 5,500 claims, two weeks ago it was 32,000 and this past week was 45,000, which are record numbers in the state.

For all unemployment information go to mdes.ms.gov.

Friday morning, Governor Reeves signed two new executive orders to protect healthcare professionals from transmission and liability as they aid in Mississippi’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are so blessed to have our nation’s best and brightest in our state’s healthcare system, and I thank these healthcare heroes for caring for Mississippians as we work to slow the spread of COVID-19. While they’re fighting to protect us, we’re going to do everything in our power to protect them. These orders help protect our healthcare professionals who are working diligently on the frontlines to save lives. We must all do our part to take care of our healthcare workers and one another during this difficult time,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

Following the recommendations issued by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), Executive Order No. 1470 defines elective surgeries and restricts all non-essential elective surgeries and medical and surgical procedures.

Governor Reeves issued this order to ensure that PPE and medical supplies would not be depleted by medically unnecessary surgeries, as well as protect the health and safety of healthcare professionals needed to help in the COVID-19 response. The Executive Order will be in effect from today, April 10, 2020, at 5:00 PM until April 27, 2020 at 8:00 AM. State, county, and local law enforcement are authorized to enforce it.

In preparation for the projected surge in Mississippi, Executive Order No. 1471 creates additional protections from civil liability for healthcare workers and facilities assisting outside their normal operations in the response to COVID-19. This order is in effect until May 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Because of the urgent need to maintain a robust response supported by all available healthcare professionals, Governor Reeves has also authorized MSDH, the Mississippi State Board of Nursing, and the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure to make, amend, and rescind any orders, rules, or regulations deemed necessary for our state’s healthcare professionals to help with the response efforts.

You can view the orders here: Executive Order No. 1470Executive Order No. 1471.

On a positive note, at the end of each press conference, Governor Reeves has said Happy Birthday to people that contact his staff through social media, so if your day is coming soon, let the 65th Governor of Mississippi know.