WATCH: Gov. Tate Reeves extends Mississippi’s COVID-19 state of emergency
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has extended the State of Emergency Order that was initially set to expire on Sunday.
Sitting down with WLOX in an exclusive interview at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport, Reeves encouraged all Mississippians to get vaccinated.
“We didn’t know what we didn’t know back then [in March]. What we do know today is that an individual that gets the vaccine is much less likely to get the virus and much less likely to spread the virus,” he said.
On Thursday, Mississippi reported the highest number of new cases in a single day since the pandemic began.
Reeves did not issue a mask mandate or restrictions for schools.
“The reality is there is an opportunity for them to recognize how bad the cases are, how many vaccinated they have in their school among kids and employees, and they can make that decision on the local level,” said Reeves.
The primary goal of extending the emergency order is make sure resources are available for Mississippi’s hospitals, said Reeves.
“Our goal is to protect integrity of healthcare system so that everyone who gets sick can get treated,” said the governor.
The emergency executive order provides the legal framework to bring in state and federal assistance from different agencies, like the National Guard, if needed.
Reeves has issued several executive orders throughout the last 17 months, with mandates requiring multiple restrictions, such as masks in public spaces and limitations on businesses.
Since March 4, 2020, Reeves has issued at least 78 executive orders and supplements to executive orders due to the COVID pandemic.
Reeves had previously said he would not be extending the emergency order again. However, that was before the Delta variant spread throughout the Magnolia State, causing hospitals throughout the state to be overwhelmed with COVID patients.
Calling the CDC guidelines “foolish” and “harmful,” Reeves said last month that he would not be issuing another mask mandate in Mississippi, nor would he be placing any further restrictions on businesses.
At that same event, Reeves said he would also not require that masks be worn in schools. Now, only one week into the academic year, several schools across the state have closed and are going virtual due to the rising number of COVID cases. Most recently, three South Mississippi schools made the decision this week to go virtual for 14 days due to COVID outbreaks being reported. As this interview was happening, another coast school, Hancock High, announced that it was closing and moving to virtual learning for 14 days because of a high number of COVID-19 cases in the student and faculty population.
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