Gov. Reeves news conference
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves updated the public on the state's efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus at a news conference, joined by members of the state's COVID-19 response team.
Reeves announced he has added Wayne County to a list of hotspots in the state and removed Newton, Scott, Attala and Leake counties. He cited State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs in assessing those counties where containment measures have worked.
So now the hotspots are: Lauderdale, Neshoba, Jasper, Holmes and Wayne counties.
State epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers reiterated what Dobbs said Thursday, that large gatherings and a lack of social distancing have escalated the cases in Wayne County. He also urged the wearing of masks and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between people and not congregating in large groups as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Byers also said outbreaks continue at long-term care facilities. He says 50% of deaths in the state have happened among LTC facilities. Byers noted that testing is key. As of Friday over 80% of LTC residents and employees have been testing for COVID-19.
Reeves also announced a new program for small businesses. It will allow businesses with 50 employees or fewer to apply for grants of up to $25,000.
"In addition to fighting this virus we are also working to quickly get out funds from the CARES Act to our small businesses. We are launching a website today, backtobusinessms.org, which outlines eligibility requirements and paperwork to compile to get access to this grant program," Reeves said.
The money will be for expenses the business incurs to meet standards for reopening.