by Hunter Dawkins

After announcing the that two vaccines have passed through an FDA phase and a Mississippi facility will be one of the first to provide both doses for the global pandemic of COVID-19, Governor Tate Reeves issued 19 additional counties that have qualified and met certain requirements to be placed under mask mandates with his “Safe Recovery” executive order that is in effect until December 11th.

As of now 41 of Mississippi’s 82 counties are included within this order.

“As we go into Thanksgiving, please be extra cautious and look out for your loved ones. These are critical times,” Governor Reeves said. “There is much more COVID-19 around us, and therefore a greater risk that you pass the virus to someone that you love dearly.”

When questioned about a statewide mask mandate like other states across the country, the governor began to provide numbers of other states compared to the numbers of Mississippians and how thesenumbers are better per capacity.

Mississippi Department of Health Dr. Thomas Dobbs followed the govenor with announcement of new antibodies that state hospitals will be provided, although stressing mask wearing and social distancing being the immediate step towards bringing the numbers of COVID-19 cases down.

The last detail discussed before questions was Governor Reeves request for Federal Disaster Declaration for Individual and Public Assistance as well as U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance following Hurricane Zeta that impacted portions of Southeast Mississippi.

Zeta slammed the Gulf Coast producing eight feet of storm surge and maximum wind gusts around 100 mph. Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments were conducted by FEMA, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and local governments beginning November 10, 2020.There was an estimated total of $79,000,000 worth of damage to public infrastructure and more than $10,000,000 worth of damage to homes and businesses.

After damage assessments were completed, it was determined that six counties met the threshold for Individual, SBA Assistance and eight counties met the threshold to receive Public Assistance.

*Individual Assistance has been requested for: George, Greene, Jackson, Hancock, Harrison and Stone.

*Public Assistance has been requested for: George, Greene, Jackson, Hancock, Harrison, Perry, Stone and Wayne.

*SBA Assistance has also been requested for: George, Greene, Jackson, Hancock, Harrison and Stone.

The Gazebo Gazette followed with a question about the potential transition of a new administration in the White House and if this may delay the funding.  Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel responded by saying there had never been any past problems but that approval must be signed by the President.