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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.

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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