Gov. Reeves adds 13 counties to mask mandate

Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 2:40 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is adding restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state.

“It’s bad everywhere, and it’s certainly bad here,” Reeves said.

Monday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said hospitalizations are at a record high, above the previous peak in August, and expected to continue rising.

“It’s appalling that this seems like a low number,” Dobbs said of the more than 1,000 new cases reported by the health department on Tuesday.

Reeves says everyone knows what works to prevent the spread: wearing a mask and avoiding large groups.

He says he’s always been measured in his response and has worked to avoid panic, but needs the trust of the public.

Reeves is adding 13 counties to the mask mandate, increasing the total to 54--m ore than half of the state’s counties.

The new additions are: Quitman, Jefferson, Franklin, Noxubee, Kemper, Amite, Coahoma, Sunflower, Scott, Adams, Oktibbeha, Monroe and Washington.

The other counties that were previously added include:

Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Prentiss, Stone, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Lee, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Pontotoc, Rankin, Tate, Winston, Itawamba, and Yalobusha.

These counties must also limit social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

Reeves is sticking true to his opinion that a statewide mask mandate would not make more people wear a mask. He pointed to Louisiana, which has had a statewide mandate since June but is reporting large totals in new cases.

He says he believes people in the counties he’s added will see their county named and realize there is an urgent need for them to wear a mask. He didn’t rule out the possibility that all 82 counties could qualify for the localized mask mandates.

“I believe if we put in a statewide mask mandate and left it there for months and months and months, we would not have more people wearing masks,” he said.

Reeves says there’s no magic policy that will get everyone to wear a mask.

“These other states, 40 of which have a statewide mask mandate, are seeing cases at a larger rate than us,” he said.

Dobbs noted one worrying trend in the state: young, asymptomatic people who are spreading the virus to their parents and grandparents.

He called for an end to all non-essential gatherings.

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