Mississippi health officer: Keep masking up to fight virus

State health leaders update the public on where the state stands one year after the first case of the coronavirus surfaced in Mississippi.

Posted: Mar 8, 2021 6:42 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's top public health official is urging people to continue wearing masks in public to slow the spread of the coronavirus, even after Republican Gov. Tate Reeves lifted a mask mandate.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, said during a news conference Monday that Mississippi has seen a significant decrease in hospitalizations from COVID-19 in recent weeks, but “we're not done with the COVID pandemic.”

“Just like in a baseball game, if you're up a run or two in the sixth or seventh inning, you don't just lay down and let the other team just go at it on offense,” Dobbs said. "It's time to continue with some of the safety measures we have in place. Continue to mask in public. Continue to avoid indoor social gatherings. And get vaccinated when it's your turn.”

Reeves last week lifted the mask mandate that had been in place for most of Mississippi. He recommended that people continue to wear masks but said the governor's office was “getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do.” Reeves said cities are allowed to keep local mandates. Jackson and Hattiesburg are among the cities that have done so.

The governor also lifted most other restrictions on businesses. His executive order that took effect Wednesday specified that “close-contact” businesses such as barbershops, beauty salons and massage or tattoo parlors should encourage their employees and customers to wear masks.

Mississippi has a population of about 3 million. The Health Department said Monday that more than 488,000 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, and nearly 276,000 people are fully vaccinated.

Dobbs said Mississippi is closing the gap on racial disparities in vaccinations. Black people comprise 38% of Mississippi’s population. They now represent 25% of those who have received at least one dose of a vaccination, up from about 17% in early February.

The Health Department reported 70 new confirmed cases of the virus Monday — one of the lowest numbers in a long time. The department has reported 297,651 confirmed cases and 6,808 deaths in Mississippi since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mississippi reported its first confirmed case of the virus on March 11, 2020, and the first confirmed death from it eight days later.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, said Monday that Mississippi's largest single-day total of new confirmed cases occurred Jan. 8, when more than 3,500 were reported. The largest single-day total of new deaths was 57 reported on Jan. 15.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
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