TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - In Thursday’s report, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,322 new cases of the coronavirus.
MSDH updates its case totals each morning based on test results from the previous day.
Dr. Jeremy Blanchard, the chief medical officer of North Mississippi Medical Center, said the higher numbers can be traced back to Gov. Tate Reeves’ decision to lift the statewide mask mandate on Sept. 30.
"The big thing is people actually listened to it and they quit doing their masking and quit taking it seriously," he said.
Even though the statewide mask mandate expired, the public is to still wear masks in schools and inside close-contact businesses like salons and barbershop.
Other state medical professionals agree, including Dr. LouAnn Woodward of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson
She's urging Mississippians to mask up.
"We do not have an effective treatment. We do not have an effective vaccination, but we know masking works,” she said. “Masking, social distancing and hand hygiene are the only three things that work."
Blanchard said he is already seeing an abrupt increase in hospital admissions.
If Mississippians do not return to wearing masks, the situation will only get worse, he said.
"If we want to avoid being in a really catastrophic situation, I believe, we have got to have the governor mandate masking, and we have got to adhere to it."
Blanchard said if Mississippians want to live up to the state’s nickname of the "Hospitality State," then they must wear masks.
"So, if we really care about each other; if we're really the Hospitality State, then out of respect for everybody who you care about, who you are as a human being and a Mississippian, mask. Please mask appropriately."