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Governor takes different tone concerning coronavirus money

Governor Tate Reeves seems resigned to the likelihood that the Legislature will take control over how more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus money will be spent.

Posted: May 5, 2020 10:58 PM
Updated: May 5, 2020 11:07 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA/AP) — Governor Tate Reeves seems resigned to the likelihood that the Legislature will take control over how more than $1 billion in federal coronavirus money will be spent.

"I was angry. I was mad. But now, I'm way beyond that. I've got too much other work to do. I've got too much stuff that I have to get done," said Reeves during the state coronavirus news conference Tuesday.

Gov. Tate Reeves speaking during a coronavirus news conference

According to the governor, he has yet to receive the bill passed Friday that gives state lawmakers spending authority over that cash. Based on that vote, however, it appears they could easily override any veto by Reeves.

The governor, a Republican, has called that bill a power grab by the GOP-majority Legislature, saying he's best positioned to spend the federal money as needs arise.

He also said Vice President Pence told him this week the Trump administration intended for governors to decide how that money should be spent.

But longtime Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat from Amory, said the issue is not with the governor. The issue is making sure the money is spent properly.

"No one individual, not even me, should be in charge of $1.25 billion with no oversight," said Bryan during a live interview on WTVA 9 News at 5:00.

Discussion about the dispute came on the same day the state health department said Mississippi — with a population of about 3 million — had at least 8,207 confirmed cases and 342 deaths from the coronavirus as of Monday evening. That was an increase of 330 cases and 32 deaths from the previous day.

It was Mississippi's largest single-day increase in virus death numbers. The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said 18 of the deaths happened earlier but were included in the Monday statistics because that's when the health department received information from death certificates.

The number of coronavirus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. 

The Department of Health said Tuesday that more than 80,300 coronavirus tests had been done in Mississippi as of Monday. The department said at least 965 cases of the virus had been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 125 deaths from it in those facilities.

The governor’s “safer at home” order started April 27, replacing a stricter stay-at-home order that was in place for more than three weeks. The new order remains in effect until Monday morning and has allowed some to reopen with limits on how many customers may be present. Barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors and entertainment venues such as movie theaters remain closed.

Reeves is easing some restrictions on restaurants and outdoor gatherings, beginning Thursday. Restaurants will be allowed to open indoor dining rooms and outdoor seating areas with masks on servers and limits on the number of customers. Outdoor gatherings such as youth sports practices may have up to 20 people, an increase from the current limit of 10.

Reeves said Tuesday that even though larger gatherings are allowed, those still might be bad for some people.

“There is no government replacement for your personal responsibility and wisdom,” said Reeves. “Please take our warnings seriously. Please do not go back to normal. Please do not give up.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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