Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that he is preparing to re-impose restrictions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, including a possible mask mandate.
Reeves told reporters during a press conference that the restrictions will be “finalized in the near future” but was not any more specific, suggesting they could be statewide or more community specific, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported.
“We have seen day after day of very high numbers," Reeves said. "The fact is that the crunch on our hospital system is not a hypothetical. It is not in the future.”
Mississippi had been lessening restrictions over the past few weeks.
The number of new daily positive tests in for the flu-like virus Mississippi has ranged from a low of 226 on July 6 to 1,904 on June 21, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. Previously, the most positive tests was 715 on June 10.
However, the percentage of daily positive tests has remained relatively flat, at about 13 percent since June 25, about twice the rate it was for most of May and June.
The state health department reported 30 new deaths from COVID-19, the flu-like respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and 674 new cases Wednesday, increasing the total to 32,888 cases and 1,188 deaths.
Reeves called it a "slow-moving disaster," citing nurses without sleep, doctors stressed and ambulances turned away by hospitals because they do not have room for more patients.
He added that he has spoken with Mississippi Health Office Dr. Thomas Dobbs about how to convince people to willingly accede to the restrictions, since they are difficult to enforce.
"It's not just writing words on a page that makes this work," Reeves said referring to an executive order.
"Those of you who think the virus isn't real, I'm here to tell you, it is."
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