DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising across Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves added 19 more counties to his mask mandate list Tuesday, including Lafayette and Panola counties.
Reeves held his first COVID-19 news conference in nearly a month Tuesday.
The governor returned to the airwaves with an urgent message to Mississippians as many prepare to embark on their Thanksgiving holiday.
“COVID-19 is not going away,” Reeves said.
In fact, the governor says Mississippi is experiencing its second wave with rising hospitalizations. Reeves said there were 1,040 hospitalizations from COVID-19.
State health officials warn that Mississippi hospitals cannot sustain this much longer.
Reeves say gatherings on Halloween are partly to blame.
“What we know is that hospitalizations tend to lag total number of cases,” said Reeves.
Numbers provided by a hospital spokesperson show that as of Tuesday morning there were 72 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Baptist Desoto, including 13 in intensive care.
Reeves and state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs are urging Mississippians to consider smaller gatherings outside for Thanksgiving.
“It’s really important for everyone to realize that you don’t have to be feeling symptoms of coronavirus to spread it,” Dobbs said.
The governor says state officials are working to finalize the vaccine distribution plan.
He says it will be fair. But he wants to remind people that the vaccine won’t become available to most people until next year, so they should be cautious until then.