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Mississippi’s full ‘reopening’ delayed: Governor originally planned for July 1

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves at a recent press briefing.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves at a recent press briefing.(WTOK)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 2:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves discussed the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday as a spike in cases has hit the state in recent days. More than 1,000 COVID-19 related deaths have now been reported in the Magnolia State.

He said that across the country, cases of COVID-19 are rising and that Mississippians must be on their guard.

“From the very beginning we have had a simple goal in our state,” Reeves said. “Our goal has been, and continues to be, that every single Mississippian that can get better with quality care receives quality care.”

He says that officials look at hospitalizations and the number of those on ventilators as well as the daily reported cases of coronavirus.

Reeves said that he and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs have met several times over the past few days, saying his warnings to the state have been graphic and that Reeves believes him. He says that all Mississippians need to believe Dr. Dobbs’ warnings.

Last week, Dobbs said that he was “absolutely terrified” that a sharp increase in coronavirus patients could overwhelm the state health care system.

For weeks, Reeves said, the plan was to fully re-open the state of Mississippi by July 1. That is no longer happening.

“Our re-opening is paused and we are considering what we must do going forward,” Reeves said. “That was not an easy call. I see, I hear and I know the cost that these measures carry. But in our state, and many states across the country, the number of cases is on the rise. Things are getting worse, not better.”

The governor said this it is not because the current rules are too loose but that Mississippians aren’t following “the simplest of rules.” He said additional orders are useless if citizens do not follow what is already in place.

He said people need to “re-engage in the mission” and to do “the little things,” including wearing a mask and avoiding large crowds. Once that happens, the state may begin to regain control of the pandemic.

Reeves said there is nothing more that he wants to see than football in the fall and kids back in school and that he no longer wants to see businesses no longer closed.

“But,” Gov. Reeves said, “I need to tell you, maybe even warn you, the only thing that I fear more than that is widespread death from a result of a collapsing hospital system. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that that doesn’t happen here.”

Dr. Dobbs said an escalation of cases has occurred in areas where there were large gatherings and socializing. The largest number of new cases are happening between the ages of 20 and 29. More spread is expected to happen because those people may not display symptoms and thus will spread it to others who may be more vulnerable, such as a grandparent.

That’s why Dobbs continues to stress social distancing, even among extended family, and the wearing of masks, to reduce the potential for spreading the virus.

“People aggressively tried to return to normal and it’s too soon,” said Dobbs of recent escalations.

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