Mississippi residents, vaccinated or not, must isolate at home for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, or face up to six months in jail and a fine of $500, the state announced Friday.
“All persons, including fully vaccinated individuals, infected with COVID-19 must remain in the home or other appropriate residential location for 10 days from onset of illness (or 10 days from the date of a positive test for those who are asymptomatic),” the order by State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Hobbs said.
“A negative test for COVID-19 is not required to end isolation at the end of 10 days, but you must be fever free for at least 24 hours with improvement of other symptoms. Mississippi K-12 schools are required to exclude all students and faculty diagnosed with COVID-19 from the school setting during the isolation period (as above).”
If the failure involves “a life-threatening disease” the violation could be considered a felony with a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison, the order said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44% of the state has had at least one dose of the three available COVID vaccines, with about half fully vaccinated (1.1 million).
The CDC reports that the state logged 25,102 new cases in the last week, with a seven-day positivity rate of 20-24.9%.
Hospitalizations in the state have increased steadily since July 29, from 823 to 1,660 on Aug. 18, according to the state.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves provided an update on the virus’s surge on his Facebook page Thursday, saying the number of patients in the hospital and on ventilators were at the highest level of the pandemic, and of that number, 89% are unvaccinated.
He also said 87% of deaths were among the unvaccinated.
“Getting the vaccine is your choice. It is your decision and as your governor, I respect your decision,” Reeves said in the post.
“But please know that more and more Mississippians are concluding that getting vaccinated is a good choice not only for themselves but for the people around them. If you are not vaccinated yet, I hope you will talk to your doctor and study the statistics. Make your decision on facts. If you choose not to be vaccinated, there are other choices you should consider to protect yourself and the people you love. Distancing and masking and avoiding unnecessary indoor crowds all have proven to help – and they’re all things you can decide to do on your own.”
The isolation order will be in effect indefinitely, the order said.
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