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: 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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