JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) — Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Saturday over the coronavirus, a move which will escalate coordination among state and local agencies to deal with the pandemic.
The move came just a couple of days after the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency put its emergency operations center at a level one, a level not reached since Hurricane Katrina.
Courtesy photo released March 14 of Gov. Tate Reeves signing an emergency declaration over the coronavirus
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In a recorded message, he encouraged schools to take a second week of spring break and people to work from home, if possible.
He also made an appeal to churches.
"I'm asking churches not to hold large in person services in the morning," said Reeves, a Republican. "You can worship from home."
Reeves also encouraged people in the state not to panic.
"We are acting calmly and steadily," said Reeves in a news release. "In this state, we were prepared. We have a pandemic plan that is being followed to the letter."
The governor just returned from a family trip to Spain, a country that on Saturday went into a nationwide lockdown after an alarming rise in coronavirus cases.
Reeves said in his video statement he will voluntarily work from home over the next 14 days out of an abundance of caution even though he and his family are healthy, strong and have no symptoms.
"But we know we have to be an example of caution, and that is what we are doing," said Reeves.