JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves added more counties to his mask mandate as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.
The new additions include: Carroll, Coahoma, Jones, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee, and Pontotoc Counties.
This means 31 counties in the state are under the mask mandate. The others include: Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, Humphreys, Panola, Sharkey, Simpson, Tallahatchie, Tate, Walthall, Claiborne, DeSoto, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Washington, and Wayne counties.
“We are throwing everything that we can at the hospital crisis in our state, and we are going to continue working to ensure the integrity of our health care system,” reeves said. “I want to underscore again: even if you do not personally fear Coronavirus, the overwhelming of the system affects everybody. If you get in a car wreck, you don’t want to be treated in a tent like we saw in other parts of the country. You want to get the best possible care.”
On Thursday, Mississippi State Department of Health reported a new record-high of 1,775 cases and 48 deaths in one day.
Data shows Mississippi has the highest rate of positive cases in the United States over the past two weeks at more than 21%.
When asked about the high positivity rate, Reeves said the numbers should be looked at with “more context” and attributed it to the method of testing.
He says because of the increase in cases, death rate is going to follow, with many of those coming from people not in long-term care facilities.
Reeves reiterated that he believes schools should be open if possible. He says the risks involved with keeping them closed are just as important as the risks involved with reopening.