Mississippi leaders caution not to let guard down after seeing improved COVID-19 trends

Mississippi leaders caution not to let guard down after seeing improved COVID-19 trends

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Governor Tate Reeves said Thursday that this week Mississippi’s seven day average of coronavirus dipped below 500 for the first time since late June.

Reeves doesn’t want the public to translate positive numbers to losing focus on the fight against COVID-19.

“This isn’t our first rodeo. Even in 2020, we saw in late June when people became less focused on it,” said Reeves.

Since that time, a statewide mask mandate has been put in place. So, should we expect it to be extended?

“I wouldn’t expect it to expire on Monday," Reeves noted. "Coming out of Labor Day weekend just a couple of days ago that as we look toward next week, it’s not likely that we’ll see a reduction in the need to wear masks statewide.”

But there could be some changes to other parts of the order.

“We will be able to loosen some restrictions out there particularly in outdoor spaces," explained Reeves. "At one time, we had had the ability to do slightly, not much, but slightly larger crowds than the 10 and 20 if were outdoors. So, I think that that’s something we’ll look at.”

Reeves added that the scenarios without structure involve more risks of the virus. The same goes for college towns where there have been an increase in cases. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs say it’s not the on-campus setting but the off-campus parties that are one of the state’s biggest challenges.

“It’s hard to overwhelm youthful spirit," Dobbs said.

Dobbs says we’ve learned more through the last several months and it’s clear that the modest measures work.

“I worry about going into football time," added Dobbs. "Not so much as the football stadiums themselves but we need to think about when we have our own social gatherings. I would strongly encourage everyone...if you’re going to have folks over, make sure it’s not very many and do it outside.”

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.