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Mississippi churches take services online, into parking lots

Some Mississippi houses of worship are offering online services during the coronavirus pandemic. Others are inviting people to sit in vehicles outside the sanctuary to have socially distant prayer and maybe to hear a pastor's message over the radio.

Posted: Apr 4, 2020 9:44 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Some Mississippi houses of worship are offering online services during the coronavirus pandemic. Others are inviting people to sit in vehicles outside the sanctuary to have socially distant prayer and maybe to hear a pastor's message over the radio.

Gov. Tate Reeves says he does not believe government has the power to shut down churches, but he strongly prefers that people not gather in parking lots for worship.

“It's just hard to overcome our natural tendency to get out and say hello,” Reeves said Friday.

Mississippi is under the Republican governor's statewide stay-at-home order that began Friday evening and extends until the morning of April 20. People are being told to minimize their errands to essentials like grocery shopping.

The state Health Department said Saturday that Mississippi has more than 1,400 confirmed coronavirus cases and 35 deaths. The state has about 3 million residents.

Many people moving around their communities may not know they have contracted the virus until well after they’ve infected others. Most infected people experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, but a fraction suffering more severe illnesses can require ventilators to survive. As the caseload rapidly grows, hospitals are bracing for a wave of patients.

Mississippi public schools remain closed through at least April 17. If that decision remains in place, the first day back would be April 20, when the stay-at-home order is set to expire. Reeves said Friday that he will continue to evaluate whether to extend the school closures, but he didn't specify how soon he might make a decision.

A Jackson attorney who is in isolation at home as she recovers from COVID-19 said people in Mississippi need to take the virus more seriously. Felisha Sheppard said she got tested after losing her sense of taste and smell, then felt she had overreacted because she lacked other symptoms.

The test came back positive. Sheppard told WJTV-TV she doesn’t know how she got exposed to the virus.

“I have friends who are still accumulating with one another,” Sheppard said. ”I started thinking, to most people, this is just an elusive idea. It’s happening in other places.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35419

Reported Deaths: 1230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds290851
DeSoto190019
Madison144638
Jones120349
Harrison113616
Rankin108715
Neshoba104577
Forrest99343
Lauderdale96381
Scott81915
Jackson77519
Washington72213
Copiah65315
Leake63520
Lee61222
Oktibbeha61128
Grenada5949
Warren59421
Holmes58641
Wayne56218
Yazoo5536
Lowndes54813
Lamar5347
Leflore53156
Lincoln52935
Pike49920
Lafayette4974
Sunflower4778
Monroe45635
Panola4486
Covington4355
Bolivar40518
Simpson3933
Attala38424
Newton37510
Tate35213
Adams35120
Pontotoc3466
Marion32712
Claiborne30111
Chickasaw29719
Winston29511
Pearl River28832
Noxubee2788
Jasper2776
Marshall2773
Walthall2627
Clay25811
Union25211
Smith24612
Clarke22325
Coahoma2226
Lawrence2092
Yalobusha2079
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18111
Montgomery1713
Calhoun1645
Humphreys16310
Itawamba1468
Tippah14511
Hancock14413
Webster13411
Jefferson1263
Tunica1233
Jefferson Davis1204
Prentiss1204
George1163
Greene11310
Amite1103
Alcorn1002
Quitman991
Wilkinson989
Tishomingo971
Perry874
Choctaw754
Stone742
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton460
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
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