Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs answers a reporter’s question (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Gazebo Gazette

Mississippi Governor Reeves announced measures to slow the spread of the global pandemic; COVID-19 (coronavirus). A new executive order (1527) places a 10% capacity requirement on healthcare facilities across the state.

If hospitals cannot maintain 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients, these medical centers will be required to delay elective procedures. Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases have increased over the past few weeks—part of a global and national trend of increasing cases.

Additionally, Reeves declared more targeted measures for counties which meet the standards established during the summer wave. In these counties, indoor social gatherings should be limited to groups of 10. Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to groups of 50.

Face coverings are required while indoors and interacting with the public without social distancing.

“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,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “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 counties with additional COVID-19 safety measures are Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, and Neshoba.

Counties must meet the following criteria for additional measures: 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).

Finally, Reeves expressed that Andrea Sanders will serve as the new Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.

A former social worker for children and current General Counsel and Principal Deputy Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Sanders has been on the frontlines of the effort to protect Mississippi’s most vulnerable.