JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves is taking another step to slow the spread of the virus, but he’s not ordering a statewide shutdown as we’ve seen in other states.
The governor signed the executive order Tuesday in an attempt to provide more clarity to the public. It essentially orders folks to do what they’ve already been urged to do.
Things like not gathering in groups of 10 or more, restaurants to stop dine-in services and folks to all work from home.
Meanwhile, the state is trying to proactively plan for worse case scenarios of an overloaded healthcare system.
Governor Reeves started the press briefing with a timeline of the actions taken by the state up to this point.
“I will take every action that experts tell us will protect Mississippi’s most vulnerable citizens," said Governor Reeves. "That is my job. I will make hard decisions and I will do what’s right for the people of Mississippi.”
When asked if he’d consider a statewide shutdown, he says he won’t anything off the table but:
“What is the potential long-term effect? And it’s not just the long-term effects from a money standpoint. How much money you have in your pocket to spend but the long-term effects of the poverty that could cause and the public health effects,” added Reeves.
Still, there are questions about whether it’s enough. A WalletHub study showed Mississippi as the state with the least aggressive measures against the coronavirus.
“We’ve been under a resource constrained environment," noted State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "We haven’t had access to testing. We haven’t had access to PPE. And as we sort of fill out those resource issues, we’ll be able to ramp up testing. We’ll be able to ramp up our epidemiological response. There’s a lot of stuff that we can do to sort of respond more aggressively once we get these resources issues fixed.”
Another issue being addressed is access to hospital beds and proper equipment if the state’s cases needing hospitalization surge.
“We do not want to have a situation in Mississippi where we have to make life-and-death decisions based on the supply of ventilators or ICU rooms," added Dobbs. "But something that we take very very seriously.”
Governor Reeves says they are looking at options that could fill those gaps.
“I think you’ll see us in the coming days tour some potential options, should we get to that,” said Reeves. "We don’t expect we’re going to get to that. We don’t think it will get to that but we are going to prepare for it.”
The order also specifies what’s considered essential businesses.