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Mississippi sets more limits amid virus, no stay-home order

Gov. Tate Reeves in Baldwyn on January 28, 2020 (Amanda Haley)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is issuing an executive order that further restricts people's physical interactions to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but he is not mandating that people stay at home.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 5:12 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 5:18 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Tuesday that he is issuing an executive order that further restricts people's physical interactions to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but he is not mandating that people stay at home. It was not immediately clear whether any steps will be taken to enforce the things he is ordering.

Reeves said his executive order will tell businesses to allow “every possible employee” to work from home. He said it will define essential businesses “to give clear guidance to our partners on the local level, should they decide to take additional action."

“Understand that we are not at the end of this pandemic. In fact, we may still be at the beginning stages of this fight," Reeves said during a news conference outside the Governor's Mansion.

Governors in several other states, including Louisiana, are putting tighter limits on people's movements, including stay-at-home orders.

He said his executive order will tell Mississippi restaurants and bars statewide to close their dining rooms and offer only carry-out or delivery food orders. Some cities and counties have already taken this step.

The Republican governor said he is encouraging — but still not mandating — that people remain home when possible. He said people should stop gathering in groups of 10 or more, even for events like funerals, weddings and church services.

He said the order will also tell people to stop visiting hospitals, nursing homes or long-term care facilities that house the people most vulnerable to becoming sick.

According to figures reported by the state Health Department on Tuesday, Mississippi had at least 320 coronavirus cases and one death as of Monday evening. The death was a Hancock County resident with other underlying health conditions, and he died last week in a Louisiana hospital.

The vast majority of people infected with the novel coronavirus get only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover in about two weeks. But many will need hospitalization. Particularly vulnerable are older adults and those with existing health problems who can develop severe complications, including pneumonia.

Reeves said in response to questions Tuesday that the only abortion clinic in Mississippi should be following state Health Department's guideline to temporarily stop doing elective surgeries.

“It is without question that the lone clinic in Jackson does, in fact, operate doing procedures that are elective and not required,” Reeves said. He said if the clinic does not stop elective surgeries, “I would be prepared to try to take additional action," Reeves said, although he did not specify what that would be.

The state Health Department issued an advisory Thursday saying medical facilities must postpone elective procedures to conserve protective medical gear that is in short supply. During the news conference Tuesday, the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said he would review what the abortion clinic is doing before he makes any comments.

The clinic's owner, Diane Derzis, told The Associated Press on Monday that she considers abortion to be an essential health care service, not an elective one.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order during the weekend that prohibits “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.” In Ohio, abortion clinics received letters Friday from the Republican state attorney general ordering them to cease all "non-essential" surgical abortions.

Reeves said Tuesday that Mississippi's income tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to May 15.

The governor said he knows of no confirmed coronavirus cases in Mississippi prisons or county jails, but he also said he did not know whether anyone in those facilities has been tested. The state prison system stopped allowing visitors several days ago, and Reeves said workers are increasing sanitation efforts.

Mississippi public schools are closed until at least April 17, but some public and private schools have started online classes. He said that as of Tuesday, more than 360 sites were providing lunches for students, either for pickup or delivery.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has started providing public notices about the coronavirus in Spanish as well as English.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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Clouds increase a bit more on Tuesday, though there will still be plenty of sunshine at times. Temperatures will remain very warm. An isolated sprinkle or shower is possible later in the day, though rain chances are much more likely into Wednesday as a cold front passes.
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