JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases rising in Mississippi, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) issued new public health guidance on Friday.

The agency issued the following recommendations:

  • Those 65 and older should avoid all indoor mass gatherings (regardless of vaccination status)
  • All Mississippi residents with chronic underlying medical conditions avoid all indoor mass gatherings
  • All Mississippians 12 years of age and older receive COVID vaccination
  • All unimmunized wear a mask when indoors in public settings

Health leaders are blaming the Delta variant for the increase in cases. They said the variant is targeting those who are unvaccinated.

Earlier this week, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said 78 percent of the COVID cases between June 16 and June 25 were from the Delta variant.

On Friday, MSDH reported 416 new coronavirus cases, along with two additional deaths.

12 News reached out to Governor Tate Reeves’ office, asking if he will require staff and students to wear masks when school resumes next month. The office released the following statement.

Governor Reeves has no intention of requiring students and staff to wear masks when they’re in school this fall.

Bailey Martin, Press Secretary for Governor Tate Reeves

Watch the full news conference below.